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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sanguine


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for sanguine

Synonyms: Adjective

blooming, florid, flush, full-blooded, glowing, red, rosy, rubicund, ruddy

Antonyms: Adjective

ashen, ashy, doughy, livid, lurid, mealy, pale, paled, palish, pallid, pasty, peaked, peaky, sallow, sallowish, wan

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But other countries are more sanguine and, in internal EU-27 discussions in Brussels, have questioned whether the bloc should be more pragmatic, officials say. Ian Wishart,, "Brexit Bulletin: Pandora’s Box," 27 June 2018 The data released Friday offer a slightly more sanguine projection for graduation than the figures presented in February. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "D.C. schools could face sharp dip in graduation rate after scandal," 27 Apr. 2018 Polous, meanwhile, was sanguine about his situation. Brendan Farrington And Gary Fineout, Fox News, "State: Controlled burn sparked fire that destroyed 36 homes," 27 June 2018 Not every observer is so sanguine about the rise in company debt levels. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Why Bond Investors Aren’t Worried About Corporate America’s Rising Debt Load," 10 Mar. 2018 Despite the pressures, other soy farmers remain sanguine. Ben Popken /, NBC News, "Soy farmers say they're getting hurt in Trump's trade war with China," 6 July 2018 One of that realm’s most powerful figures, Judd Apatow, takes a more sanguine view. Josh Rottenberg,, "The state of the big-screen summer comedy is no laughing matter. Can the genre get its mojo back?," 22 June 2018 But his crushing failure to get the peace treaty through the Senate a century ago suggests a less sanguine view. Michael Kazin, New York Times, "Woodrow Wilson Achieved a Lot. So Why Is He So Scorned?," 22 June 2018 When asked about the risks of this very hands-on form of science, Stern is sanguine. Amy Thompson, WIRED, "The Race to Get Tourists to Suborbital Space Is Heating Up," 10 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sanguine

Listen to Our Podcast about sanguine

Statistics for sanguine

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sanguine

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!