auger (n.) Look up auger at
"instrument for boring larger holes," c. 1500, faulty separation of Middle English a nauger, from Old English nafogar "nave (of a wheel) 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 other similar misdivisions, see adder. The same change took place in Dutch (avegaar, egger).
aught (n.1) Look up aught at
"something, anything," late 12c., from Old English awiht "aught, anything, something," literally "e'er a whit," from a- "ever" (from Proto-Germanic *aiwi "ever," from PIE root *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. Chaucer used aughtwhere (adv.) "anywhere."
aught (n.2) Look up aught at
"nothing, zero," faulty separation of a naught (see naught). See adder for similar misdivisions.
augment (v.) Look up augment at
late 14c., "become more severe;" c. 1400, "to make larger; become larger," from Old French augmenter "increase, enhance" (14c.), from Late Latin augmentare "to increase," from Latin augmentum "an increase, growth," from augere "to increase, make big, enlarge, enrich," from PIE root *aug- (1) "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 "to increase" (see augment). Meaning "amount by which something is increased" is from 1520s. Musical sense is from 1590s, in fugues.
augmentative (adj.) Look up augmentative at
"having power or quality of augmenting," c. 1500, from Middle French augmentatif (14c.), from Late Latin augmentat-, stem of augmentare "to increase" (see augment). In grammar from 1640s.
augmented (adj.) Look up augmented at
c. 1600, "increased," past-participle adjective from augment. Musical sense of "greater by a semitone than a perfect or major interval" (opposite of diminished) is attested by 1825.
augur (n.) Look up augur at
1540s, from Latin augur, a religious official in ancient Rome who foretold events by observing and interpreting signs and 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," from PIE root *aug- (1) "to increase." The more popular theory is that it is from Latin avis "bird," because the flights, singing, and feeding of birds were important objects of divination (compare auspex). In that case, the second element would be from garrire "to talk." Related: Augural; augurial.
augur (v.) Look up augur at
c. 1600, "predict, prognosticate," from augur (n.). From 1826 as "betoken, forebode." Related: Augured; auguring.
augury (n.) Look up augury at
late 14c., "divination from the flight of birds," from Old French augure, augurie "divination, soothsaying, sorcery, enchantment," or directly from Latin augurium "divination, the observation and interpretation of omens" (see augur (n.)). Sense of "omen, portent, indication, that which forebodes" is from 16160. Often in plural, auguries.
august (adj.) Look up august at
"inspiring reverence and admiration, solemnly grand," 1660s, from Latin augustus "venerable, majestic, magnificent, noble," perhaps originally "consecrated by the augurs, with favorable auguries" (see augur (n.)); or else [de Vaan] "that which is increased" (see augment).
August Look up August at
eighth month, late 11c., 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.), and compare Augustus). One of two months given new names to honor Roman leaders (July being the other), the Romans also gave new imperial names to September (Germanicus) and October (Domitian) but these did not stick.

In England, the name replaced native Weodmonað "weed month." Traditionally the first month of autumn in Great Britain, the last of summer in the U.S.
Augusta Look up Augusta at
fem. proper name, Latin fem. of Augustus (q.v.).
Augustan (adj.) Look up Augustan at
1640s, from Latin Augustanus, "pertaining to Augustus (Caesar)," whose reign (31 B.C.E.-14 C.E.) was connected with "the palmy period of Latin literature" [OED]; hence, "period of purity and refinement in any national literature" (1712); in French, the reign of Louis XIV; in English, that of Queen Anne.
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 element inus (see -ine (1)). Related: Augustinian.
Augustus Look up Augustus at
masc. proper name, from Latin augustus "venerable" (see august (adj.)). 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
type of large, colonial diving bird, 1670s, a Northern England name, 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"). Originally and properly the great auk, which once abounded on North Atlantic coasts; hunted for food, bait, and its down, the species became extinct c. 1850.
auld (adj.) Look up auld at
variant of old that more accurately preserves the Anglo-Saxon vowel. Surviving in northern English and Scottish; after late 14c. it was distinctly Scottish. A child wise or canny beyond its years was auld-farrand; Auld wives' tongues was a name for the aspen, because its leaves "seldom cease wagging."
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. It also was 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 "an aroma or subtle emanation" (1732). All from Latin aura "breeze, wind, the upper air," from Greek aura "breath, cool breeze, air in motion," from PIE *awer- (see air (n.1)). The word was used in the classical literal sense in Middle English, "gentle breeze" (late 14c.). The modern uses all are figurative. In Latin and Greek, the metaphoric uses were in reference to changeful events, popular favor.
aural (adj.) Look up aural at
1847, "pertaining to the ear," from Latin auris "the ear as the organ of hearing" (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., "resembling 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"), which is probably related to root *aus- (1) "to shine."

Especially of highly ornamented literary or rhetorical styles. Related: Aureation.
aureole (n.) Look up aureole at
early 13c., "celestial crown worn by martyrs, virgins, etc., as victors over the flesh," from Latin aureola (corona), fem. diminutive of aureus "golden" (see aureate). In religious art aureola (1848) is the luminous cloud or aura surrounding holy figures.
auricle (n.) Look up auricle at
"external part of the human ear," 1650s, from Latin auricula "ear," diminutive of auris "the ear" (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 "ear," diminutive of auris (see ear (n.1)). Meaning "pertaining to the ear" is from 1640s.
auriferous (adj.) Look up auriferous at
"containing gold," 1727, from Latin aurifer "gold-bearing," from auri-, combining form of aurum "gold" (see aureate) + -fer "producing, bearing" (from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children").
Auriga Look up Auriga at
northern constellation, from Latin auriga "a charioteer, driver," also the name of the constellation, which is often explained as from aureae "reins, bridle of a horse" (from os, genitive oris, "mouth;" see oral) + agere "set in motion, drive, lead" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Its bright star is capella.
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 cattle (Bos ursus) that went extinct early 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
"morning light, dawn," 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").
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. Related: Aurora australis (1741).
auroral (adj.) Look up auroral at
1550s, "pertaining to dawn," from aurora + -al (1). Meaning "of the color of dawn" is from 1827; meaning "of the aurora borealis" is 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 "listen attentively to" (see auscultate). Medical sense is from 1821, "a listening to the internal parts of the body via a stethoscope."
auspex (n.) Look up auspex at
"one who observes flights of birds for the purpose of taking omens," 1590s, from Latin auspex "interpreter of omens given by birds," from PIE *awi-spek- "observer of birds," from root *awi- "bird" (see aviary) + root *spek- "to observe." 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: 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 austral).
austere (adj.) Look up austere at
early 14c., from Old French austere "strict, severe, harsh, cruel" (13c., Modern French austère) and directly from Latin austerus "dry, harsh, sour, tart," from Greek austeros "bitter, harsh," especially "making the tongue dry" (originally used of fruits, wines), metaphorically "austere, harsh," from PIE root *saus- "dry" (see sere (adj.)).

From late 14c. as "severe, rigid;" 1590s as "unadorned, simple in style, without luxuries;" 1660s as "grave, sober." Classical literal sense "sour, harsh" (1540s) is rare in English. Related: Austerely; austereness.
austerity (n.) Look up austerity at
mid-14c., "sternness, harshness," from Old French austerite "harshness, cruelty" (14c.) and directly from Late Latin austeritatem (nominative austeritas), from austerus "severe, rigid," a figurative use, in classical Latin "harsh, sour" (see austere). From 1580s as "severe self-discipline, ascetic practices;" hence "severe simplicity, absence of adornment or luxuries," applied during World War II to national policies limiting non-essentials as a wartime economy.
Austin Look up Austin at
surname (also Austen) and masc. proper name, from Old French Aousten, an abbreviated form of Latin Augustine.
austral (adj.) Look up austral at
"southern, of or pertaining to the south," 1540s, from Latin australis, from auster "south wind; south," from Proto-Italic *aus-tero- (adj.) "towards the dawn," from PIE *heus-tero- (source also of Sanskrit usra- "red; matutinal," usar-budh- "waking at dawn;" Greek aurion "tomorrow;" Lithuanian aušra "dawn;" Old Church Slavonic jutro "dawn, morning; tomorrow;" Old High German ostara "Easter"), from PIE root *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn.

The Latin sense shift in auster, if it is indeed the same word other Indo-European languages use for "east," for which Latin uses oriens (see Orient (n.)), perhaps is based on a false assumption about the orientation of the Italian peninsula, "with shift through 'southeast' explained by the diagonal position of the axis of Italy" [Buck]; see Walde, Alois, "Lateinisches etymologisches Wörterbuch," 3rd. ed., vol. I, p.87; Ernout, Alfred, and Meillet, Alfred, "Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine," 2nd. ed., p.94. Or perhaps the connection is more ancient, and from PIE root *aus- "to shine," source of aurora, which also produces words for "burning," with reference to the "hot" south wind that blows into Italy. Thus auster "(hot) south wind," metaphorically extended to "south."
Australasia Look up Australasia at
1766 in geography, from French Australasie (De Brosses, 1756), "Australia and neighboring islands," also used later in zoology in a somewhat different sense (with reference to Wallace's line); see Australia + Asia. Related: Australasian.
Australia Look up Australia at
from Latin Terra Australis (16c.), from australis "southern" + -ia. A hypothetical southern continent, known as terra australis incognita, had been proposed since 2c. Dutch explorers called the newfound continent New Holland; the current name was suggested 1814 by Matthew Flinders as an improvement over Terra Australis "as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the name of the other great portions of the earth" ["Voyage to Terra Australis"]. In 1817 Gov. Lachlan Macquarie, having read Flinders' suggestion, began using it in official correspondence. The ultimate source is Latin auster "south wind," hence, "the south country" (see austral).
Australian (n.) Look up Australian at
1690s, originally in reference to aboriginal inhabitants, from Australia + -an. As an adjective by 1814. Australianism in speech is attested from 1891.
Australioid (adj.) Look up Australioid at
"of the type of the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia," 1864; see Australia + -oid. Also sometimes Australoid.
Australopithecus (n.) Look up Australopithecus at
1925, coined by Australian anthropologist Raymond A. Dart (1893-1988) from Latin australis "southern" (see austral) + Greek pithekos "ape," a loan word from an unknown language. So called because first discovered in South Africa.
Austria Look up Austria at
central European nation, from Medieval Latin Marchia austriaca "eastern borderland." German Österreich is "eastern kingdom," from Old High German ostar "eastern" (from Proto-Germanic *aust- "east," literally "toward the sunrise," from PIE root *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn) + reich "kingdom, realm, state" (from Proto-Germanic *rikja "rule," from PIE root *reg- "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule"). So called for being on the eastern edge of Charlemagne's empire. Related: Austrian.
Austro- Look up Austro- at
combining form meaning "Austrian;" see Austria.