Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Accompanied by bloodshed.
  • adj. Eager for bloodshed; bloodthirsty.
  • adj. Consisting of blood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Attended with bloodshed.
  • adj. Eager to shed blood; bloodthirsty.
  • adj. Consisting of, covered with or similar in appearance to blood.
  • n. A bloodthirsty person.
  • n. The plant yarrow, or herba sanguinaria.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Attended with much bloodshed; bloody; murderous.
  • adj. Bloodthirsty; cruel; eager to shed blood.
  • n. The yarrow.
  • n. The Sanguinaria.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Consisting of blood; formed of blood: as, a sanguinary stream.
  • Bloody; attended with much bloodshed or carnage: as, a sanguinary encounter.
  • Bloodthirsty; eager to shed blood; characterized by cruelty.
  • Synonyms and Sanguinary, Bloody. Sanguinary refers to the shedding of blood, or pleasure in the shedding of blood;’ bloody refers to the presence or, by extension, the shedding of blood: as, a sanguinary battle; the sanguinary spirit of Jenghiz Khan; a bloody knife or battle.
  • n. The yarrow or milfoil: probably so called from its fabled use in stanching blood.
  • n. The bloodroot, Sanguinaria Canadensis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by eagerness to resort to violence and bloodshed
  • adj. accompanied by bloodshed

Etymologies

Latin sanguinārius, from sanguis, sanguin-, blood.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sanguinarius. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The despair of the flying Goths found some consolation in sanguinary revenge; and three hundred youths of the noblest families, who had been sent as hostages beyond the Po, were inhumanly slain by the successor of Totila.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • April morning to recall the sanguinary history of the Glen.

    Nonsense Novels

  • At the same time, under the influence of Adelaide's nervous nature, the vices which in the father assumed a kind of sanguinary frankness were in the son tinged with an artfulness full of hypocrisy and cowardice.

    The Fortune of the Rougons

  • Louis, despite a most sanguinary array of butcher-knives and a big poker, pins his cook's faith on hot water and sees to it that two kettles are always piping on top the cabin stove.

    CHAPTER XLIV

  • "Quite a sanguinary turn, I should say," Uncle Robert remarked.

    Jack London's Short Story: Planchette

  • It was the very bench Tom Henan had sat upon that last sanguinary day of life.

    SAMUEL

  • Flourishing it in a sanguinary manner and scowling fearsomely, I charged upon the invaders.

    The Golden Poppy

  • An outcast himself from the pack of the part-grown dogs, his sanguinary methods and remarkable efficiency made the pack pay for its persecution of him.

    The Outcast

  • A fatal inefficiency, coupled with possession of the most marvelous devices for taking life, prevents them from succeeding more than very rarely in their sanguinary efforts for the regeneration of the world.

    Jack London's Nonfiction Collection of Unpublished Book Forwards

  • A little later, when the sun was quite down, in the background of the curdled clouds smouldered a wine-red mass of colour, that faded to bronze and tinged all the fading greens with its sanguinary hue.

    CHAPTER XXIX

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • This word is etymologically closely related to the word sanguine which means "cheerful" or "healthy".

    August 21, 2008

  • I keep confusing this word with sagacity, and think it means some sort of wisdom.

    August 15, 2008

  • The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.
    ~Ulysses Simpson Grant (1869–1877)

    We are Cubans and have one great aim in view, one glorious object to obtain – the freedom of our country and liberty. It is of more importance to us than glory, public applause, or anything else. Everything else will follow in time. I have never believed in or advised a sanguinary revolution, but it must be a radical one. First of all we must triumph; toward that end the most effective means, although they may appear harsh, must be employed. ~Máximo Gómez writing to Tomás Estrada Palma in 1895

    Lay then the axe to the root, and teach governments humanity. It is their sanguinary punishments which corrupt mankind. - Tom Paine "The Rights of Man"

    August 13, 2007