One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in ancient Rome) a religious official who interpreted omens by inspecting the entrails of sacrificial animals.
- ‘In the case of the augurs or haruspices of Rome, the animal was sacrificed to permit contemplation of the entrails for prophetic purposes.’
- ‘The function of the haruspices was divination of the future from the entrails of sacrificial animals.’
- ‘The Assyrians believed the god Shamash the Sun sent messages to inform the haruspex (reader of entrails) of the structure of the universe at the moment the sacrificial knife struck the victim.’
- ‘Her grandfather suppressed his Christian scruples and consulted both a Persian astrologer and an old pagan haruspex to be sure that the stars and the omens were favorable to the wedding.’
- ‘My favorite was the haruspex, who foretold the future through ‘reading’ the entrails of various animals (some stock market analysts arguably use methods not much more technologically advanced to forecast the market).’
Latin, from an unrecorded element meaning ‘entrails’ (related to Sanskrit hirā ‘artery’) + -spex (from specere ‘look at’).
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