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  • Mysteries of vernacular

  • Inaugurate:

  • to begin or introduce a system, policy, or period

  • or to admit someone formally into public office.

  • The word inaugurate probably begins

  • with the Latin word avis,

  • meaning bird.

  • In ancient Rome, avis was combined

  • with the Latin verb garrire, to talk.

  • The two words together made augur,

  • literally one who talks to birds.

  • Figuratively, however, augur was the name given

  • to a specific religious official,

  • a type of soothsayer or profit,

  • who foretold events by studying the behavior of birds.

  • No major decision was made

  • without the augur's consultation.

  • He would analyze flight patterns and direction,

  • bird calls,

  • and general bird activities,

  • and then use these signs to interpret the will of the gods.

  • From augur comes the verb inaugurare,

  • to see omens from the flight of birds,

  • and, then later, to consecrate or act

  • when such omens are favorable.

  • Roman officials could only be installed in office

  • when the avian omens were auspicious.

  • Centuries later,

  • the word was eventually transmuted into English

  • as inaugurate.

  • Along the way, it lost its veneer of superstition

  • and was admitted formally

  • into the jargon of politics.

Mysteries of vernacular

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A2 TED-Ed bird formally latin flight veneer

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Inaugurate - Jessica Oreck

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    Bing-Je posted on 2013/12/13
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