san·​guine | \ˈsaŋ-gwən \

Definition of sanguine 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : marked by eager hopefulness : confidently optimistic In the month of August 1994, Democrats remained sanguine about their chances at the polls …— John B. Judis A lot of attention also is being devoted to the development of vaccines to prevent genital herpes, although not everyone is sanguine about the outcome.The Journal of the American Medical Association

2 : bloodred … the radiant heat from the cedar logs, whose sanguine colour made the silvered locks of his hair into a fantastic wreath of flames.— Elinor Wylie

3a : consisting of or relating to blood … some sanguine vessels are obstructed, and distended …— Theophilus Lobb

b : bloodthirsty, sanguinary … attacked by the sanguine … warriors of neighboring islands …— Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas

c : accompanied by, involving, or relating to bloodshed : bloody … from the numerous graves, including those by the barn, which our shells had destroyed; we realized what a sanguine battle it had been …— Frederick W. Wild

d of the complexion : ruddy She was all unnerved; her naturally sanguine complexion was pale …— Charlotte Brontë

4 : having blood as the predominating bodily humor — see humor entry 1 sense 2a An abundance of red blood was marked by a warm and sanguine temperament; whereas, an excess of yellow bile produced the choleric temperament …— Samuel Lytler Metcalfe also : having the bodily conformation and temperament held characteristic of such predominance and marked by sturdiness, healthy red complexion, and cheerfulness He conceived himself rather as a sanguine and strenuous man, a great fighter. — G. K. Chesterton


san·​guine | \ˈsaŋ-gwən \

Definition of sanguine (Entry 2 of 2)

: a moderate to strong red

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Other Words from sanguine


sanguinely adverb
sanguineness \ˈsaŋ-​gwən-​nəs \ noun
sanguinity \saŋ-​ˈgwi-​nə-​tē, san-​ \ noun

Did You Know?


Sanguine has quite a few relatives in English. Sangfroid ("self-possession especially under strain") and sanguineous ("bloodthirsty") are consanguineous with sanguine. (Consanguineous, means "descended from the same ancestor.") The tie that binds these words is sanguis, the Latin word for blood. Exsanguination ("the draining or losing of blood"), sanguinary ("murderous" or "bloody"), and the rare sangsue ("leech") and sanguinolent ("tinged with blood") are also sanguis relatives. That's something you can raise a glass of sangaree or sangria ("a usually iced punch made of red wine, fruit juice, and soda water") to!

Examples of sanguine in a Sentence


He has been strangely sanguine about this, blandly ignoring the mounting evidence that dissident elements in the police are stirring trouble … — Allister Sparks, Washington Post, 9–15 Mar. 1992 How could a man of his caliber be this sanguine about a war we had barely begun to fight? He gave me the McNamara look, eyes focusing boldly through rimless glasses. "Every quantitative measurement we have shows that we're winning this war," he said. — Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988 Yet if there were sanguine expectations of war profits and unlimited booty from the Spanish empire, … those hopes were dramatically confounded … — Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches, 1988 He does not pretend to be sanguine about our prospects. History itself, he reminds us, provides few examples of cultures as debilitated as ours which were not destroyed by the very forces they set in motion. — Gertrude Himmelfarb, The New History and the Old, 1987 She has a sanguine disposition. He is sanguine about the company's future.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some analysts and investors were sanguine about Tesla’s decision to stay public. Tim Higgins, WSJ, "Tesla’s Challenges Are Back in Spotlight After Going-Private Spectacle Ends," 27 Aug. 2018 Sedona city attorney Robert Pickels, who defended the city’s ordinances, is sanguine, despite wrestling with the issue for years. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "How conservative ‘property rights’ groups are battling cites’ Airbnb rules," 14 Aug. 2018 Even those pro-Brexit proponents who are more sanguine than Hammond about the prospect of no deal think the British economy will encounter at least short-term turbulence. Pan Pylas, The Seattle Times, "UK faces prospect of recession and downgrade, S&P warns," 30 Oct. 2018 But the Trump administration doesn’t appear sanguine about this possibility. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump’s latest tweets about the migrant caravan, explained (and debunked)," 18 Oct. 2018 Despite a drumbeat of deadly crashes and hefty damage awards, some industry spokesmen appear sanguine about progress. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Fiery Helicopter Crashes Persist With Industry Slow to Upgrade Fuel Tanks," 7 Aug. 2018 Chicago’s rising minimum wage has not left everyone so sanguine. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Chicago's minimum wage is about to jump to $12 per hour. Who are the winners and the losers?," 29 June 2018 Hillary Clinton hasn’t been so sanguine since losing the 2016 presidential race to Donald Trump. Peggy Fikac, San Antonio Express-News, "Webb County mail-in ballot fraud allegations may help spur changes in law," 26 Apr. 2018 Some businessmen are less sanguine, fearing that other countries will act in concert against America. The Economist, "Harley-Davidson shifts some production out of America," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But not all involved with the legal defense are sanguine that Giuliani can succeed where others have failed. Gloria Borger, CNN, "Trump legal team brings fresh firepower to reset with Mueller," 20 Apr. 2018 Here, there are more than 90 options ranging from yuzu to orange sanguine, speculoos to fig. Kristen Bateman, Vogue, "Choux, Confitures, and Caviar: The Best Specialty Food Shops in Paris," 7 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sanguine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sanguine


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sanguine


Middle English sanguin, from Anglo-French, from Latin sanguineus, from sanguin-, sanguis — see sanguinary


see sanguine entry 1

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Statistics for sanguine

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for sanguine

The first known use of sanguine was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sanguine



English Language Learners Definition of sanguine

: confident and hopeful


san·​guine | \ˈsaŋ-gwən \

Medical Definition of sanguine 

1a : consisting of or relating to blood

b of the complexion : ruddy

2 : having blood as the predominating bodily humor also : having the bodily conformation and temperament held characteristic of such predominance and marked by sturdiness, high color, and cheerfulness

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More from Merriam-Webster on sanguine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sanguine

Spanish Central: Translation of sanguine

Nglish: Translation of sanguine for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sanguine

Comments on sanguine

What made you want to look up sanguine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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