Divination by means of inspecting the entrails of sacrificed animals.
[From Latin extispicium, from extispex, extispic-, one who perform extispicy : Latin exta, entrails, viscera (perhaps contraction of *exsecta : ex-, ex- + secta, neuter pl. of sectus, past participle of secāre, to cut; see sek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) + -spex, one who sees; see spek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.