Auspicious vs suspicious

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The words auspicious and suspicious are similar in spelling and pronunciation, and are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of the words auspicious and suspicious, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Auspicious is an adjective that describes something that is favorable, something that is a good omen of success or good fortune in the future. A sign that is auspicious signifies good luck, indicating a promise of prosperity. The word auspicious has its origin in classical Roman times. During the time of the Roman Empire certain people were employed as interpreters of omens symbolized through the behavior of certain birds. These soothsayers were known as auspexes. The word auspex means one who observes birds. Certain birds were considered reliable omens, such as owls, eagles, ravens, vultures and even chickens. When one employed an auspex, proceeding with a certain action found favorable by the birds was known as preceding under the auspices of positive omens. Today, auspicious may refer to something that will bring good fortune, such as a day that is lucky, or a performance that bodes well for succeeding performances. Synonyms of the word auspicious that may be found in a thesaurus are: promising, fortunate, advantageous, propitious. Antonyms of auspicious are: inauspicious, disheartening, unpromising, unlikely. Related words are auspice, auspices, auspex, auspiciously, auspiciousness.

Suspicious is an adjective that describes something that is questionable, something that arouses distrust. A suspicious person seems dangerous, dishonest or untrustworthy. A suspicious circumstance may be one in which things do not seem to add up, or where things seems to be out of place. For instance, seeing the door to a neighbor’s house standing wide open, when you know that the neighbor is out of town, is a suspicious circumstance. Law enforcement authorities often ask citizens to report unusual or suspicious activity, or anything that may cause one to suspect a threat. This threat may be to people or property, and my involve anything from a simple burglary to homicide or terrorism. The word suspicious is derived from the French word suspicion, meaning mistrust. Synonyms of the word suspicious that may be found in a thesaurus are: doubtful, wary, cautious, untrustworthy. Antonyms of suspicious are: believable, certain, confident. Related words are suspicion, suspiciously, suspiciousness.


Days considered auspicious could be money-spinners for the registration department, but people are complaining of inordinate delays in property registrations on such days. (The Times of India)

Malaysian pilgrims, gathered here for wukuf today sought forgiveness for their sins and prayed for blessings for themselves and loved ones on the most auspicious day in Islam. (The New Straits Times)

Their six-track mini-album Curtains held a lot of promise when it was released in 2016, but all too often we see bands falling at the first hurdle and simply failing to progress from auspicious beginnings into something fully-fledged. (The Irish Times)
Police called on the public to act with caution around suspicious kites of balloons that could contain explosive or inflammatory materials. (The Jerusalem Post)
Officials at the Hingham Fire Department are asking the public for help identifying the cause of a recent house fire that is being investigated as suspicious. (The Patriot Ledger)