Augers v. Augurs

A post by Anne Jefferson

These are augers.

Black and white photo of screw auger, barrel auger, sampling tube, mud auger, and peat sampler.

NRCS photo of soil augers. Click image for source.


This is an augur.

Drawing of robed figure holding curved stick.

A Roman augur. Image from Wikipedia. Click image for source.


The free dictionary defines augur as follows:


1. One of a group of ancient Roman religious officials who foretold events by observing and interpreting signs and omens.

2. A seer or prophet; a soothsayer.
v. au·guredau·gur·ingau·gurs

1. To predict, especially from signs or omens; foretell. See Synonyms at foretell.
2. To serve as an omen of; betoken: trends that augur change in society.


1. To make predictions from signs or omens.
2. To be a sign or omen: A smooth dress rehearsal augured well for the play.


More often that not, my students I are talking about augering not auguring. Though one could argue that when we make hypotheses, we are in fact auguring. I think however, we should avoid using that word in our writing.

Prof Trelawney and crystal ball from Harry Potter

“I augur that our sites will be quite extensively augered to determine the soil characteristics.”

Categories: by Anne, field gear
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