Definition of sanguine in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsaŋɡwɪn/


1Optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation: he is sanguine about prospects for the global economy the committee takes a more sanguine view
More example sentences
  • The first is pessimism, the conviction that social transformation is, contrary to the sanguine illusions of the optimists, profoundly difficult.
  • The Mexican press has been more sanguine about the prospects for the Zapatistas.
  • DESPITE THIS GOOD NEWS, it is hard to be sanguine about manufacturing's prospects over the long haul.
optimistic, bullish, hopeful, buoyant, positive, disposed to look on the bright side, confident, cheerful, cheery, bright, assured
informal upbeat
archaic of good cheer
1.1(In medieval science and medicine) of or having the constitution associated with the predominance of blood among the bodily humours, supposedly marked by a ruddy complexion and an optimistic disposition.
Example sentences
  • Blood predominated in spring, and a person with a natural excess of blood would have a sanguine physical and psychological humoral constitution, or temperament.
  • Jupiter, ruling the sanguine humour from its seat in the liver, is responsible for maintaining the even temper of the humours, thereby facilitating the harmonious flow of Vital Force.
  • So if you've got an excess of black bile, you're melancholy; if there's a lot of blood running through you, you're sanguine.
1.2 archaic (Of the complexion) florid or ruddy.
Example sentences
  • It was his fresh and sanguine complexion, which struck me as a rather bizarre contrast to his flat eyes.
  • Even a sanguine complexion, therefore, did not guarantee rational capacity in a man.
2 literary & Heraldry Blood-red.
Example sentences
  • Instances later, she was a beautiful young maiden with sanguine hair and a scarlet dress.
  • He lay sleeping on his king-sized bed, covered under a crimson sheet with the sanguine hat tilted forward onto the bridge of his nose.
3 archaic Bloody or bloodthirsty.
Example sentences
  • It's terrible that a sword meant to save mankind from tyranny is corrupted to sanguine and destructive ends.


[mass noun]
1A blood-red colour.
Example sentences
  • Most artists who have done much life drawing are familiar with sanguine, usually as a color of conté crayon or colored pencil.
1.1A deep red-brown crayon or pencil containing iron oxide.
Example sentences
  • I was aware that sanguine, like the more processed chalks, can be smeared and stomped to create smooth tones; what I didn't know until reading Moore’s article is that the sanguine dust, because it doesn't have the oily binders found in the processed crayons, can be mixed with water to form a kind of ‘ink’, and washed on with a brush or even a pen.
1.2 Heraldry A blood-red stain used in blazoning.
Example sentences
  • Sanguine and tenne, supposedly, were never used in anything else other than abatements.



Pronunciation: /ˈsaŋɡwɪnli/
Example sentences
  • Of his various outbursts and legal woes, he says sanguinely: ‘He's just very angry right now because I think he realises what he did and there's nothing he can do to change it.’
  • ‘There might be certain issues that will be sorted out,’ he says sanguinely.
  • I have never seen farce more keenly orchestrated and sanguinely enacted, the blatantly laughable always tinged with the bitingly caricatural, the fantastic, and the outrageous, without the slightest loss in basic humanity.


Pronunciation: /ˈsaŋɡwɪnnəs/
Example sentences
  • Today, the Hinde Studio photos, the same images blown up to large-scale prints, speak to the optimism of the times and our nostalgia for that cheerful sanguineness.
  • Then I think there is also a strong sense in Washington that polls will shortly confirm a relative degree of sanguineness in the nation.
  • Indeed, we have heard this sanguineness before, often just before the next downturn.


Middle English: from Old French sanguin(e) 'blood red', from Latin sanguineus 'of blood', from sanguis, sanguin- 'blood'.

  • According to the medieval doctrine of the four humours ( see humour), having a constitution in which blood predominated over the other three gave people a cheerfully optimistic or sanguine disposition, as well as a florid complexion. The root of sanguine is Latin sanguis ‘blood’.

Words that rhyme with sanguine


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: san|guine

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words