- sluggish in temperament; gloomy; taciturn.
- suffering from lead poisoning, as a person.
- due to absorption of lead, as bodily disorders.
Origin of saturnine
Examples from the Web for saturnine
The voice of the older man came with a sinister force and saturnine.Within the Law
His temper was of the saturnine complexion, and without the least taint of moroseness.Joseph Andrews Vol. 1
The saturnine Hahn stood at my door with a weapon upon me while I ate.
All the while the little Cuban talked swiftly and with a saturnine enthusiasm.Romance
Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
The witticisms convulsed Paul's neighbours and left him saturnine.Despair's Last Journey
David Christie Murray
- having a gloomy temperament; taciturn
- of or relating to lead
- having or symptomatic of lead poisoning
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.
- Melancholy or sullen.
- Produced by absorption of lead.