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90s Slang You Should Know


[sat-er-nahyn] /ˈsæt ərˌnaɪn/
sluggish in temperament; gloomy; taciturn.
suffering from lead poisoning, as a person.
due to absorption of lead, as bodily disorders.
Origin of saturnine
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin sāturnīnus (see Saturn, -ine1)
Related forms
saturninely, adverb
saturnineness, saturninity
[sat-er-nin-i-tee] /ˌsæt ərˈnɪn ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for saturnine
Historical Examples
  • There was a triumphant smile on the renegade's saturnine face.

    The Golden Amazons of Venus John Murray Reynolds
  • He had a marked squint and this gave him a saturnine expression.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
  • And then again (as it seemed to him a good phrase), "Why so saturnine?"

    East Angels Constance Fenimore Woolson
  • Shane handed his coat and hat to a saturnine French corporal.

    The Wind Bloweth Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne
  • There was something in the shabby dress and down-cast mien of the little weaver that appealed to the farmer's saturnine humour.

    More Tales of the Ridings Frederic Moorman
  • This man was saturnine of countenance, but moderately liberal of heart.

    The Buffalo Runners R.M. Ballantyne
  • saturnine faces were wreathed in smiles worthy of a pirouetting dancer.

    The Magic Skin Honore de Balzac
  • The voice of the older man came with a sinister force and saturnine.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • He was jovial, or saturnine, or martial, depending on the planet which was in the ascendant at the time of his birth.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • His temper was of the saturnine complexion, and without the least taint of moroseness.

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1 Henry Fielding
British Dictionary definitions for saturnine


having a gloomy temperament; taciturn
  1. of or relating to lead
  2. having or symptomatic of lead poisoning
Derived Forms
saturninely, adverb
saturninity (ˌsætəˈnɪnɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C15: from French saturnin, from Medieval Latin sāturnīnus (unattested), from Latin Sāturnus Saturn, with reference to the gloomy influence attributed to the planet Saturn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for saturnine

"gloomy, morose, sluggish, grave," mid-15c., literally "born under the influence of the planet Saturn," from Middle English Saturne (see Saturn) + -ine (1). Medieval physiology believed these characteristics to be caused by the astrological influence of the planet Saturn, which was the most remote from the Sun (in the limited knowledge of the times) and thus coldest and slowest in its revolution.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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saturnine in Medicine

saturnine sat·ur·nine (sāt'ər-nīn')

  1. Melancholy or sullen.

  2. Produced by absorption of lead.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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