Under the Aegis Of Someone

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Also: Under the auspices of

Meaning of Idiom 'Under the Aegis of (Someone or Something)'

To be under the aegis of someone means to have their financial or moral support or to be sponsored or protected by them. 1,2

Usage

Someone in this idiom can refer to an individual, organization, government agency, company, etc. The expression is quite formal.

The idiom under the auspices of someone is used in exactly the same way.

Examples:

"The scholarship is under the aegis of the Washington Institute."

"The community is enjoying the new playground, built under the aegis of the Rockland Company."

"You are here under the auspices of Mr. Franklyn, but you must still pass a probationary period like everyone else," said Fran's new boss.

Origin

c. Late 1700's 1

The aegis, in early Greek myth, was the storm cloud surrounding the thunderbolt of Zeus. Later, it became the protective shield and/or armor of Zeus and then of Athena, said to be built by the fire god Hephaistos from the hide of the goat Amaltheia. 3,1

The term auspice has the same protective connotation as aegis, today. Interestingly, in ancient Greek, the term aspis, -idos meant a small shield for battle. However, the modern term derives from the Latin avis for bird and spectre, meaning "to see." Originally, this referred to observing birds in flight for the purposes of divination or, in other words, to look for omens to predict the future. The term later came to mean a favorable influence and then to the modern meaning of patronage or protection by an important person or institution. 4,1

Sources
1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
3. Coulter, Charles Russell., and Patricia Turner. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000.
4. Trim, Richard. Metaphor and the Historical Evolution of Conceptual Mapping. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

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