Lituus

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Lituus (Rom. Antig) A curved staff used by the augurs in quartering the heavens.
    • Lituus (Math) A spiral whose polar equation is r2θ = a; that is, a curve the square of whose radius vector varies inversely as the angle which the radius vector makes with a given line.
    • Lituus (Rom. Antig) An instrument of martial music; a kind of trumpet of a somewhat curved form and shrill note.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n lituus In Roman antiquity: A staff with a recurved or crooked top, used by the augurs in quartering the heavens; an augural wand.
    • n lituus An instrument of martial music; a kind of trumpet curved at the outer extremity, and having a shrill tone.
    • n lituus A spiral of which the characteristic property is that the squares of any two radii vectores are reciprocally proportional to the angles which they respectively make with a certain line which is given in position and which is an asymptote to the spiral. This name was given by Cotes (died 1716).
    • n lituus [capitalized] In zoology: A genus of cephalopods: same as Spirula.
    • n lituus A genus of gastropods: same as Cyclostoma.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Lituus li-tū′us an augur's staff with recurved top: a spiral of similar form
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.

Usage

In literature:

The Roman lituus, the chief ensign of the augurs, became the crozier.
"History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science" by John William Draper
The usual form of taking an augury was very solemn; the augur ascended a tower, bearing in his hand a curved stick called a lituus.
"Pinnock's Improved Edition of Dr. Goldsmith's History of Rome" by Oliver Goldsmith
The notes of the 'lituus' are usually described as harsh and shrill.
"The Metamorphoses of Ovid" by Publius Ovidius Naso
The pastoral crook, and the lituus, or staff, of the ancient augurs, etc.
"Traditions, Superstitions and Folk-lore" by Charles Hardwick
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