Definitions

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

  • adj. Of the color of blood; red.
  • adj. Of a healthy reddish color; ruddy: a sanguine complexion.
  • adj. Archaic Having blood as the dominant humor in terms of medieval physiology.
  • adj. Archaic Having the temperament and ruddy complexion formerly thought to be characteristic of a person dominated by this humor; passionate.
  • adj. Cheerfully confident; optimistic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having the colour of blood; red.
  • adj. Having a bodily constitution characterised by a preponderance of blood over the other bodily humours, thought to be marked by irresponsible mirth; indulgent in pleasure to the exclusion of important matters.
  • adj. Characterized by abundance and active circulation of blood.
  • adj. Warm; ardent.
  • adj. Anticipating the best; optimistic; not despondent; confident; full of hope.
  • n. Blood colour; red.
  • n. Anything of a blood-red colour, as cloth.
  • n. Bloodstone.
  • n. Red crayon. See the Note under crayon, 1.
  • v. To stain with blood; to impart the colour of blood to; to ensanguine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the color of blood; red.
  • adj. Characterized by abundance and active circulation of blood.
  • adj. Warm; ardent.
  • adj. Anticipating the best; cheerfully optimistic; not desponding; confident; full of hope.
  • n. Blood color; red.
  • n. Anything of a blood-red color, as cloth.
  • n. Bloodstone.
  • n. Red crayon. See the Note under Crayon, 1.
  • transitive v. To stain with blood; to impart the color of blood to; to ensanguine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of blood; bloody.
  • Bloodthirsty; bloody; sanguinary.
  • Of the color of blood; red; ruddy: as, a sanguine complexion; the sanguine francolin, Ithaginis cruentatus; specifically, in heraldry, same as murrey.
  • Abounding with blood; plethoric; characterized by fullness of habit: as, a sanguine habit of body.
  • Characterized by an active and energetic circulation of the blood; having vitality; hence, vivacious; cheerful; hopeful; confident; ardent; hopefully inclined; habitually confiding: as, a sanguine temperament; to be sanguine of success. See temperament.
  • Synonyms Lively, animated, enthusiastic.
  • n. The color of blood; red; specifically, in heraldry, same as murrey.
  • n. Bloodstone, with which cutlers stained the hilts of swords, etc.
  • n. Anything of a blood-red color, as a garment.
  • n. A drawing executed with red chalks.
  • To stain with blood; ensanguine.
  • To stain or varnish with a color like that of blood; redden.

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

  • n. a blood-red color
  • adj. confidently optimistic and cheerful
  • adj. inclined to a healthy reddish color often associated with outdoor life

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French sanguin, from Latin sanguineus, from sanguis, sanguin-, blood.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French sanguin, ultimately from Latin sanguineus ("of blood"), from sanguis ("blood"), of uncertain origin, perhaps Proto-Indo-European *h₁sh₂-én-, from *h₁ésh₂r̥ (“blood”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Will they remain sanguine when excess reserves increase to $2 trillion?

    The Fed Compounds Its Mistakes

  • If you're not familiar with these terms a sanguine is a naturally outgoing personality who can hold three conversations at once, doesn't like to be alone, is the life of every party and is often said to be a people person.

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • One temperament is commonly called sanguine, meaning, literally, “from the blood.”

    If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts?

  • But there was no blank despair, and if any felt despondency they suppressed the expression of it, while by far the greatest number of those on board were actually animated, not by the loss itself, but by the accidental nature of the occurrence, to indulge in sanguine expectations of ultimate success.

    The Breaking of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable on Board the Great Eastern

  • It is what artists call a sanguine, a drawing made with a crayon of red ocher that was much favored by Watteau, Boucher, and other artists in the eighteenth century.

    Champlain's Dream

  • Its temperament seems to be sanguine, which is just the opposite of the nervous-combative hooded and spectacled cobra species.

    The Minds and Manners of Wild Animals A Book of Personal Observations

  • Jackson Wells smiled as he recalled his sanguine partner's idea of a treasure-trove concealed and stuffed in the crevices of this tenement, already so palpably picked clean by those wholesome scavengers of

    Openings in the Old Trail

  • In general, top IMF officials were "sanguine" about the growing complexity and dispersion of mortgage-related investments and "praised the United States for its light-touch regulation and supervision that permitted the rapid financial innovation that ultimately contributed to the problems in the financial system."

    Watchdog: IMF's trust in markets, regulators blocked sight of financial crisis

  • It now seems probable that my view of hunting-and-gathering societies and of non-human primate societies -- like the views of many anthropologists, primatologists and archaeologists of several decades ago -- was overly sanguine, or not "sanguine" enough, depending on which sense of the word one has in mind.

    THE PARABLE OF THE TRIBES After a Quarter Century: A Revision

  • I do, however, like the word "sanguine" an awful lot, though when I first encountered it, I thought it couldn't be good.

    Archive 2008-12-01

Comments

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

  • I don't like this word at all, it doesn't sound like what it means and I use optimistic so who needs it? I noticed 19th century people like US Grant used it alot, maybe before optimistic became popular. I always have to look it up when I read it and am pretty sure the first definition I read of it said it meant something amounting to indifferent or ok with things, not optimistic. Too complicated, too Latin and has no zero subjective meaning.

    May 10, 2012

  • A sanguine complexion. - Websters Dictionary pg.71

    September 24, 2010

  • Rolig, well put--I like this word for similar reasons.

    Also, henceforth I'd like to be called Sangfroid the Sanguine.

    June 3, 2009

  • Ha! "Sangfroid the Sanguine" sounds like the name of one of CharlesFerdinand's kings: "In the days of Sangfroid the Sanguine, the country remained at peace for none of his neighbors was able to provoke him to war."

    June 3, 2009

  • Maybe... "Sangfroid the Sanguine." Although sangfroid is not a verb. More's the pity. *thinking about how one might sangfroid if one chose to*

    June 1, 2009

  • How cultures interpret words like this is fascinating. In French, sangfroid and, in Russian, хладнокровие (khladnokroviye) are good qualities in a person, both conveying the sense of "cool-headedness"; in English, however, cold-bloodedness is definitely not something you want to encounter. I tend to associate sanguine with sangfroid. I pronounce the word in a way that almost rhymes with penguin (another cool character), so Cole Porter would have to change his tune to make this word fit for me.

    June 1, 2009

  • Hm. Maybe you've put your finger on why I don't like it much, though I'm enthusiastic about other words that call to mind the Middle Ages: this one doesn't sound at all like what it means. When I look at sanguinary, and then sanguine, I never get the meaning right. *ponders*

    Isn't there a song, "Begin the Sanguine"? There should be.

    June 1, 2009

  • Oh, I love this word, just like I love all the words still in use that hark back to medieval concepts about the mind-body-elements-planets relationships: bilious, choleric, melancholic, humorous, saturnine, jovial, mercurial, etc. And I don't think sanguine is pretentious when it's used to mean "optimistic, positive, cheerful, unruffled". Its synonyms don't really convey so directly the same sense that the attitude so discribed relates to something inherent in a person's character. I also like the fact that it comes from a word for "blood" and that it has as a much darker, tragic cousin in the word sanguinary.

    June 1, 2009

  • Blood.

    Also, it's just a pretentious word, I think—like the S word. (I don't like or dislike it much, myself.)

    June 1, 2009

  • I'm amazed this has so many listings. What's the appeal??

    June 1, 2009

  • This, with sepia, is a key colour in classical drawing.

    September 7, 2008

  • This word is etymologically closely related to the word sanguinary which means "bloodthirsty".

    August 21, 2008

  • the color of blood.

    December 1, 2007

  • 'God! what a beauty! what a lovely charming thing!' he exclaimed. 'Haven't they raised it on snails and sour milk, Nelly? Oh damn my soul! but that's worse than I expected--and the devil knows I was not sanguine!'
    --Emily Brontë, 1847, Wuthering Heights

    November 11, 2007

  • "Hopeful. Plus, point of interest, it also means 'bloody.'"

    April 12, 2007

  • Jon Stewart mispronounced this one pretty badly.

    December 21, 2006

  • This is odd - this word seems have been added to 17 Wordie lists in the last week, but it is a the bottom of the list, not the top.

    December 20, 2006