August - Augustan- Augustine - Augustinian

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August, Augustan, Augustine and Augustinian are four adjectives (and nouns) that share a common root in the title taken by Octavian, the first Roman Emperor: Augustus 53 BCE - 14 CE). He is usually known simply as Augustus: all later Roman Emperors took this amongst their other titles: Lewis and Short suggest that it became equivalent to 'Majesty' or 'Imperial Majesty'. Augustus means, as an adjective, 'consecrated or venerable'. (The title, or name, has the stress on the second syllable. 'awe-GUST-us' IPA: /ɔː ˈgʌst əs/) in the RP English convention - though in his own Latin, it may well have been more like 'ow-goost-oos', /aʊ ˈguːst uːs/.

There is a feminine form of the name, Augusta.
  • August can be noun or adjective. The two are pronounced differently.
    • As a noun, August is the name of the eighth month of the European calendar. It was named in honour of the Emperor Augustus. The noun is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable 'AWE-gust', IPA: /ˈɔː gəst/.
    • As an adjective, august (with the stress on the second syllable. 'awe-GUST' IPA: /ɔː ˈgʌst/) has the same meaning as its Latin original: 'majestic', 'venerable', 'worthy of honour'.
  • Augustan is derived from the title of the Emperor. It refers to the period of his reign, 27 BCE- 14 CE. This was regarded as the period of the finest writing in Latin, and so the word is "applied to the period of highest purity and refinement of any national literature" (OED). In particular, students using AWE (Academic Writing in English) are likely to need to know that the Augustan period in English Literature is broadly the years from the Restoration of Charles II (1660) to the reign of George III, and more narrowly to the reigns of Queen Anne, George I and George II. It has also been defined as 1660-1750 (in the title of Ian Jack's Augustan satire. Intention and idiom in English poetry 1660-1750 (1952).
Augustan is pronounced like Augustus above: ɔː ˈgʌst ən.
Augustan is also an adjective to describe anyone or anything coming from the German city of Augsburg, which was known to the Romans as Augusta Vindelicorum.
    • As a noun, Augustan means a writer of (any one of) the periods of literature (in any language) labelled as such. Sometimes this is extended to mean any great, or highly respected, writer - or artist in a non-literary medium.
  • Augustine is a forename, with the stress on the middle syllable: 'awe-GUS-tin', IPA: /aʊ ˈgʌst ɪn/. A shorter version, Austin, exists. Augustine was the name of two Christian saints - see Augustine for more detail - and various derivatives, such as the various churches and other place names given in honour of one or other saint. The name is simply a diminutive of the Emperor's title: 'the little honoured one', or 'the small majesty'. As a noun, it is sometimes used with much the same meaning as Augustinian. In this sense, it can have the final; '-e-' or not: Augustin or Augustine.
  • The adjective Augustinian - pronounced with the stress on the third syllable, 'awe-gust-IN-i-an' IPA: /ɔː gʌ ˈstɪn ɪ ən/, means 'to do with Augustine', usually one of the Saints, most often Augustine of Hippo. It is most commonly applied to one of the four great orders of friars - mendicant religious professionals - and to various others, such as canons and nuns. They are established to live under the Rule of St Augustine of Hippo


An auguste (pronounced, in English like the month 'August', or in an approximately French way, 'ow-goost' or 'awe-goost', IPA: /ɔː (or aʊ) ˈguːst/) is the traditional name for a clown in French culture - one who wears a large red (false) nose, and ill-fitting clothes (battered bowler hat, and jacket back-to-front).