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  1. full of or characterized by bloodshed; bloody: a sanguinary struggle.
  2. ready or eager to shed blood; bloodthirsty.
  3. composed of or marked with blood.
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Origin of sanguinary

First recorded in 1540–50, sanguinary is from the Latin word sanguinārius bloody. See sanguine, -ary
Related formssan·gui·nar·i·ly, adverbsan·gui·nar·i·ness, nounun·san·gui·nar·i·ly, adverbun·san·gui·nar·i·ness, nounun·san·gui·nar·y, adjective
Can be confusedsanguinary sanguine


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2. kind.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for sanguinary

Historical Examples

  • There were ten sanguinary persecutions, some being atrocious.

    Initiation into Philosophy

    Emile Faguet

  • On the 22d of August, 1572, commenced this diabolical act of sanguinary brutality.

  • This sanguinary programme the mutineers discussed day and night.

  • He was defeated in 1542, in a sanguinary battle, and then accepted terms of peace.

  • The war which followed was of the most sanguinary character.

British Dictionary definitions for sanguinary


  1. accompanied by much bloodshed
  2. bloodthirsty
  3. consisting of, flowing, or stained with blood
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Derived Formssanguinarily, adverbsanguinariness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin sanguinārius
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

Word Origin and History for sanguinary


"characterized by slaughter," 1620s, possibly from French sanguinaire, or directly from Latin sanguinarius "pertaining to blood," from sanguis (genitive sanguinis) "blood," of unknown origin. Latin distinguished sanguis, the generic word, from cruor "blood from a wound." The latter word is related to Greek kreas "meat," Sanskrit kravis- "raw flesh," Old English hreaw- "raw" (see raw).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper