san·​guine | \ ˈsaŋ-gwən How to pronounce sanguine (audio) \

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 2c 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 How to pronounce sanguine (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sanguineness (audio) \ noun
sanguinity \ saŋ-​ˈgwi-​nə-​tē How to pronounce sanguinity (audio) , 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

Adjective 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 Hicks, 31, a savvy, trusted operator who was not as sanguine as Kushner, already had a lawyer, the book reports. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "'This is great': Jared Kushner initially cheered Mueller appointment," 20 Jan. 2020 Although some investors are keeping a close eye on the country's fiscal report card, the market appears sanguine on the whole: Stocks are close to record highs. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "$1 trillion deficits are back. Here's what you need to know," 24 July 2019 Investors currently appear sanguine about the likelihood that the end of the Fed tightening cycle will put the economy on firm footing, offsetting any negative surprises in future economic activity that may be implicit in the recent yield decline. Jessica Menton, WSJ, "S&P 500 Hits Record Close After Fed Hints at Interest-Rate Cut," 20 June 2019 American companies and investors initially were sanguine about the trade war, even as tit-for-tat tariffs cut into economic growth both in the U.S. and in China, because most viewed the administration’s protectionist stance as a negotiating ploy. NBC News, "Corporate fears grow over U.S. and China trade war," 7 Oct. 2019 Others, like Tim Day, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are less sanguine about CCPA. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "New California Law Giving Consumers Control Over Their Data Sets Off a Scramble," 18 Dec. 2019 But when a protein in the bacteria responsible for the sanguine disguise is snipped out of the strep genome, the microbes are left exposed, allowing the immune system to attack the pathogens and prevent a potentially deadly infection. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Harmful Bacteria Masquerade as Red Blood Cells to Evade the Immune System," 3 Dec. 2019 The mood is more sanguine in certain corners of the market. Eliza Ronalds-hannon,, "In One Empty Store, Retail Apocalypse Comes With Zombies," 30 Oct. 2019 As my colleague David Fickling wrote recently, Royal Dutch Shell Plc seems remarkably sanguine about its single-digit reserves life. Washington Post, "What Are Proved Oil Reserves Really Trying to Prove?," 25 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet on Wall Street, the scene is the other kind of sanguine: The stock has slipped into the red for the year. Hannah Levitt, Los Angeles Times, "As Wells Fargo seeks a new CEO, it loses $24 billion in market value," 20 Aug. 2019 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

Adjective and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sanguine

Time Traveler for sanguine

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about sanguine

Statistics for sanguine

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sanguine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sanguine


How to pronounce sanguine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sanguine

formal : confident and hopeful


san·​guine | \ ˈsaŋ-gwən How to pronounce sanguine (audio) \

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!