1540s, from L. 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 L. *augos
) "increase," and is related to augere
"increase" (see augment
). The more popular theory is that it is from L. avis
"bird," since the flights, singing, and feeding of birds, along with entrails from bird sacrifices, were important objects of divination (cf. auspicious
). The second element would be from garrire
"to talk." The verb is c.1600, from the noun.