Definition of saturnine
1 : born under or influenced astrologically by the planet Saturn
2a : cold and steady in mood : slow to act or changeb : of a gloomy or surly dispositionc : having a sardonic aspect a saturnine smile
saturnine was our Word of the Day on 06/20/2014. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of saturnine in a Sentence
He is saturnine in temperament.
the men awaiting interrogation by the police shared a saturnine silence
Did You Know?
Eeyore is saturnine. The gloomy, cynical character of A. A. Milne's gray donkey typifies the personality type the ancient Romans ascribed to individuals born when the planet Saturn was rising in the heavens. Both the name of the planet and the adjective derive from the name of the Roman god of agriculture, who was often depicted as a bent old man with a stern, sluggish, and sullen nature. The Latin name for Saturn was Saturnus, which is assumed to have yielded the word Saturninus (meaning "of Saturn") in Medieval Latin; that form was adapted to create English saturnine in the 15th century.
First Known Use of saturnine
Synonym Discussion of saturnine
SATURNINE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of saturnine for English Language Learners
: very serious and unhappy
Medical Definition of saturnine
1: of or relating to lead
2: of, relating to, or produced by the absorption of lead into the system saturnine poisoning saturnine gout
Biographical Note for saturnine
Saturn \ˈsat-ərn\play , Roman mythological character. A god of agriculture in Roman mythology, Saturn taught humans how to till the fields and enjoy the fruits of civilization. His festival was called the Saturnalia and took place in late December. Lasting a week, it was the merriest and most popular of the Roman festivals. The planet Saturn, named after the god, was believed by the ancients to be made of lead.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up saturnine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).