audit (n.) Look up audit at
early 15c., from Latin auditus "a hearing," past participle of audire "hear" (see audience). Official examination of accounts, which originally was an oral procedure.
audit (v.) Look up audit at
mid-15c., from audit (n.). Related: Audited; auditing.
audition (n.) Look up audition at
1590s, "power of hearing," from Middle French audicion "hearing (in a court of law)," from Latin auditionem (nominative auditio) "a hearing, listening to," noun of action from past participle stem of audire "hear" (see audience). Meaning "trial for a performer" first recorded 1881.
audition (v.) Look up audition at
"to try out for a performance part," 1935, from audition (n.). Transitive sense by 1944. Related: Auditioned; auditioning.
auditor (n.) Look up auditor at
early 14c., "official who receives and examines accounts;" late 14c., "a listener," from Anglo-French auditour (Old French oieor "listener, court clerk," 13c.; Modern French auditeur), from Latin auditor "a hearer," from auditus, past participle of audire "to hear" (see audience). Meaning "receiver and examiner of accounts" is because this process formerly was done, and vouched for, orally.
auditorium (n.) Look up auditorium at
1727, from Latin auditorium "lecture room," literally "place where something is heard," noun use of neuter of auditorius (adj.) "of or for hearing," from auditus, past participle of audire "to hear" (see audience); also see -ory. Earlier in English in the same sense was auditory (late 14c.).
auditory (adj.) Look up auditory at
1570s, from Latin auditorius "pertaining to hearing," from auditor "hearer" (see auditor).
Audrey Look up Audrey at
fem. proper name, contracted from Etheldreda, a Latinized form of Old English Æðelðryð, literally "noble might," from æðele "noble" (see atheling) + ðryð "strength, might."
Audubon Look up Audubon at
with reference to birds or pictures of them, from U.S. naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851).
Aufklarung (n.) Look up Aufklarung at
1801, from German Aufklärung (18c.), literally "Enlightenment," from aufklären "to enlighten" (17c.), from auf "up" + klären "to clear," from Latin clarus (see clear (adj.)).
Augean (adj.) Look up Augean at
"filthy," 1590s, in reference to Augean stable, the cleansing of which was one of the labors of Herakles, from Greek Augeias, like the stable of Augeas, king of Elis, which contained 3,000 oxen and had gone uncleansed for 30 years. Herakles purified it in one day by turning the river Alpheus through it.
auger (n.) Look up auger at
c. 1500, faulty separation of Middle English a nauger, from Old English nafogar "nave drill," from Proto-Germanic *nabo-gaizaz (source also of Old Norse nafarr, Old Saxon nabuger, Old High German nabuger), a compound whose first element is related to nave (n.2) and whose second is identical to Old English gar "a spear, borer" (see gar). For similar misdivisions, see adder. The same change took place in Dutch (avegaar).
aught (n.1) Look up aught at
"something," Old English awiht "aught, anything, something," literally "e'er a whit," from Proto-Germanic *aiwi "ever" (from PIE *aiw- "vital force, life, long life, eternity;" see eon) + *wihti "thing, anything whatever" (see wight). In Shakespeare, Milton and Pope, aught and ought occur indiscriminately.
aught (n.2) Look up aught at
"nothing, zero," faulty separation of a naught (see naught; see adder for the separation problem).
augment (v.) Look up augment at
c. 1400, from Old French augmenter "increase, enhance" (14c.), from Late Latin augmentare "to increase," from Latin augmentum "an increase," from augere "to increase, make big, enlarge, enrich," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase" (source also of Sanskrit ojas- "strength;" Lithuanian augu "to grow," aukstas "high, of superior rank;" Greek auxo "increase," auxein "to increase;" Gothic aukan "to grow, increase;" Old English eacien "to increase"). Related: Augmented; augmenting. As a noun from early 15c.
augmentation (n.) Look up augmentation at
mid-15c., "act of making greater," from Old French augmentacion "increase," from Late Latin augmentationem (nominative augmentatio), noun of action from past participle stem of augmentare (see augment). Meaning "amount by which something is increased" is from 1520s. Musical sense is from 1590s.
augmentative (adj.) Look up augmentative at
c. 1500, from Middle French augmentatif (14c.), from Latin augmentat-, stem of augmentare (see augment).
augmented (adj.) Look up augmented at
past participle adjective from augment, c. 1600. Musical sense is attested from 1825.
augur (n.) Look up augur at
1540s, from Latin augur, a religious official in ancient Rome who foretold events by interpreting omens, perhaps originally meaning "an increase in crops enacted in ritual," in which case it probably is from Old Latin *augos (genitive *augeris) "increase," and is related to augere "increase" (see augment). The more popular theory is that it is from Latin avis "bird," because the flights, singing, and feeding of birds, along with entrails from bird sacrifices, were important objects of divination (compare auspicious). In that case, the second element would be from garrire "to talk."
augur (v.) Look up augur at
c. 1600, from augur (n.). Related: Augured; auguring.
augury (n.) Look up augury at
late 14c., "divination from the flight of birds," from Old French augure "divination, soothsaying, sorcery, enchantment," or directly from Latin augurium "divination, the observation and interpretation of omens" (see augur). Figurative sense of "omen, portent, indication" is from 1797 (also often in plural as auguries).
august (adj.) Look up august at
1660s, from Latin augustus "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble," probably originally "consecrated by the augurs, with favorable auguries" (see augur (n.)); or else "that which is increased" (see augment).
August Look up August at
eighth month, 1097, from Latin Augustus (mensis), sixth month of the later Roman calendar, renamed from Sextilis (literally "sixth") in 8 B.C.E. to honor emperor Augustus Caesar, literally "Venerable Caesar" (see august (adj.)). In England, the name replaced native Weodmonað "weed month." One of two months given new names to honor Roman emperors (July being the other), the Romans also gave new imperial names to September (Germanicus) and October (Domitian) but luckily these did not stick.
Augusta Look up Augusta at
fem. proper name, Latin fem. of Augustus.
Augustan (adj.) Look up Augustan at
1640s, from Latin Augustanus, "pertaining to Augustus (Caesar)," whose reign was connected with "the palmy period of Latin literature" [OED]; hence, "period of purity and refinement in any national literature" (1712).
Augustine (adj.) Look up Augustine at
c. 1400 in reference to members of the religious order named for St. Augustine the Great (354-430), bishop of Hippo. The name is Latin Augustinus, from augustus "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble" (see august (adj.)) + name-forming inus (see -ine (1)).
Augustus Look up Augustus at
masc. proper name, from Latin augustus "venerable" (see august). The name originally was a cognomen applied to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus as emperor, with a sense something like "his majesty."
auk (n.) Look up auk at
1670s, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse alka, probably originally imitative of a water-bird cry (compare Latin olor "swan," Greek elea "marsh bird").
auld (adj.) Look up auld at
variant of old that more accurately preserves the Anglo-Saxon vowel. Surviving in northern English and Scottish; distinctly Scottish after late 14c.
aunt (n.) Look up aunt at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French aunte, Old French ante (Modern French tante, from a 13c. variant), from Latin amita "paternal aunt" diminutive of *amma a baby-talk word for "mother" (source also of Greek amma "mother," Old Norse amma "grandmother," Middle Irish ammait "old hag," Hebrew em, Arabic umm "mother").

Extended senses include "an old woman, a gossip" (1580s); "a procuress" (1670s); and "any benevolent woman," in American English, where auntie was recorded since c. 1790 as "a term often used in accosting elderly women." The French word also has become the word for "aunt" in Dutch, German (Tante), and Danish. Swedish has retained the original Germanic (and Indo-European) custom of distinguishing aunts by separate terms derived from "father's sister" (faster) and "mother's sister" (moster). The Old English equivalents were faðu and modrige. In Latin, too, the formal word for "aunt on mother's side" was matertera. Some languages have a separate term for aunts-in-law as opposed to blood relations.
auntie (n.) Look up auntie at
1787, also aunty, familiar diminutive form of aunt. As a form of kindly address to an older woman to whom one is not related, originally in southern U.S., of elderly slave women.
The negro no longer submits with grace to be called "uncle" or "auntie" as of yore. ["Harper's Magazine," October 1883]
aura (n.) Look up aura at
1870 in spiritualism, "subtle emanation around living beings;" earlier "characteristic impression" made by a personality (1859), earlier still "gentle breeze" (late 14c.), from Latin aura "breeze, wind, air," from Greek aura "breath, breeze," from PIE root *awer- (see air (n.1)).
aural (adj.) Look up aural at
1847, "pertaining to the ear," from Latin auris "ear" (see ear (n.1)) + -al (1). Meaning "received or perceived by ear" is attested from 1860. Related: Aurally.
aureate (adj.) Look up aureate at
early 15c., "gold, gold-colored," also figuratively, "splendid, brilliant," from Latin aureatus "decorated with gold," from aureus "golden," from aurum "gold," from PIE root *aus- (2) "gold" (source also of Sanskrit ayah "metal," Avestan ayo, Latin aes "brass," Old English ar "brass, copper, bronze," Gothic aiz "bronze," Old Lithuanian ausas "gold"), probably related to root *aus- "to shine" (see aurora).
aureole (n.) Look up aureole at
early 13c., from Latin aureola (corona), fem. diminutive of aureus "golden" (see aureate). In medieval Christianity, the celestial crown worn by martyrs, virgins, etc., as victors over the flesh.
auricle (n.) Look up auricle at
part of the ear, 1650s, from Latin auricula "ear," diminutive of auris (see ear (n.1)). As a chamber of the heart, early 15c., from Latin, so called from a perceived similarity in shape to an animal's ear.
auricular (adj.) Look up auricular at
1540s, "auditory" (originally of confessions), from Medieval Latin auricularis, from Latin auricula (see auricle). Meaning "pertaining to the ear" is from 1640s.
auriferous (adj.) Look up auriferous at
"containing gold," 1727, from Latin aurifer "gold-bearing," from auri-, comb. form of aurum "gold" (see aureate) + -fer "producing, bearing" (see infer).
Auriga Look up Auriga at
northern constellation, from Latin auriga "a charioteer, driver," from aureae "bridle of a horse" (from os, genitive oris, "mouth;" see oral) + agere "set in motion, drive, lead" (see act (n.)).
aurochs (n.) Look up aurochs at
1766, misapplication to the European bison (Bos bison) of a word that actually refers to a species of wild ox (Bos ursus) that went extinct 17c., from German Aurochs, from Old High German urohso, from uro "aurochs" (cognate with Old English ur, Old Norse ürr), which is of unknown origin, + ohso "ox" (see ox). Latin urus and Greek ouros are Germanic loan-words.
aurora (n.) Look up aurora at
late 14c., from Latin Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, from PIE *ausus- "dawn," also the name of the Indo-European goddess of the dawn, from root *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn (source also of Greek eos "dawn," auein "to dry, kindle;" Sanskrit usah, Lithuanian ausra "dawn;" Latin auster "south wind," usum "to burn;" Old English east "east").
aurora borealis (n.) Look up aurora borealis at
1620s, "Northern Lights," literally "northern dawn," said to have been coined by French philosopher Petrus Gassendus (1592-1655) after a spectacular display seen in France Sept. 2, 1621; see aurora + boreal. In northern Scotland and among sailors, sometimes called the dancers or the merry dancers.
auroral (adj.) Look up auroral at
1550s, "pertaining to dawn," from aurora + -al (1). Meaning "of the color of dawn" is from 1827; "of the aurora" from 1828.
auscultate (v.) Look up auscultate at
"to listen" (especially with a stethoscope), 1832, from Latin auscultatus, past participle of auscultare "to listen attentively to," from aus-, from auris "ear" (see ear (n.1)); "the rest is doubtful" [OED]. Tucker suggests the second element is akin to clinere "to lean, bend."
auscultation (n.) Look up auscultation at
"act of listening," 1630s, from Latin auscultationem (nominative auscultatio), noun of action from past participle stem of auscultare (see auscultate). Medical sense is from 1821.
auspex (n.) Look up auspex at
1590s, "one who observes flights of birds for the purpose of taking omens," from Latin auspex "interpreter of omens given by birds," from PIE *awi-spek- "observer of birds," from *awi- "bird" (see aviary) + *spek- "to see" (see scope (n.1)). Compare Greek oionos "bird of prey," also "bird of omen, omen," and ornis "bird," which also could mean "omen."
auspices (n.) Look up auspices at
plural (and now the usual form) of auspice; 1530s, "observation of birds for the purpose of taking omens," from French auspice (14c.), from Latin auspicum "divination from the flight of birds; function of an auspex" (q.v.). Meaning "any indication of the future (especially favorable)" is from 1650s; earlier (1630s) in extended sense of "benevolent influence of greater power, influence exerted on behalf of someone or something," originally in expression under the auspices of.
auspicious (adj.) Look up auspicious at
1590s, "of good omen" (implied in auspiciously), from Latin auspicium "divination by observing the flight of birds," from auspex (genitive auspicis) + -ous. Related: Auspiciously; auspiciousness.
Aussie (n.) Look up Aussie at
short for Australian (n.) or Australia, attested from 1917.
auster (n.) Look up auster at
"south wind," late 14c., from Latin auster "the south wind; the south country" (see Australia).