sat·​ur·​nine | \ ˈsa-tər-ˌnīn How to pronounce saturnine (audio) \

Definition of saturnine

1 : born under or influenced astrologically by the planet Saturn
2a : cold and steady in mood : slow to act or change
b : of a gloomy or surly disposition
c : having a sardonic aspect a saturnine smile

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for saturnine

sullen, glum, morose, surly, sulky, crabbed, saturnine, gloomy mean showing a forbidding or disagreeable mood. sullen implies a silent ill humor and a refusal to be sociable. remained sullen amid the festivities glum suggests a silent dispiritedness. a glum candidate left to ponder a stunning defeat morose adds to glum an element of bitterness or misanthropy. morose job seekers who are inured to rejection surly implies gruffness and sullenness of speech or manner. a typical surly teenager sulky suggests childish resentment expressed in peevish sullenness. grew sulky after every spat crabbed applies to a forbidding morose harshness of manner. the school's notoriously crabbed headmaster saturnine describes a heavy forbidding aspect or suggests a bitter disposition. a saturnine cynic always finding fault gloomy implies a depression in mood making for seeming sullenness or glumness. a gloomy mood ushered in by bad news

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.

Examples of saturnine in a Sentence

He is saturnine in temperament. the men awaiting interrogation by the police shared a saturnine silence

First Known Use of saturnine

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About saturnine

Time Traveler for saturnine

Time Traveler

The first known use of saturnine was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About saturnine

Dictionary Entries Near saturnine




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for saturnine

Cite this Entry

“Saturnine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for saturnine



English Language Learners Definition of saturnine

: very serious and unhappy


sat·​ur·​nine | \ ˈsat-ər-ˌnīn How to pronounce saturnine (audio) \

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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