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  1. cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.
  2. reddish; ruddy: a sanguine complexion.
  3. (in old physiology) having blood as the predominating humor and consequently being ruddy-faced, cheerful, etc.
  4. bloody; sanguinary.
  5. blood-red; red.
  6. Heraldry. a reddish-purple tincture.
  1. a red iron-oxide crayon used in making drawings.

Origin of sanguine

1275–1325; Middle English sanguyne a blood-red cloth < Old French sanguin < Latin sanguineus bloody, equivalent to sanguin-, stem of sanguis blood + -eus -eous
Related formssan·guine·ly, adverbsan·guin·i·ty, san·guin·ness, nounnon·san·guine, adjectivenon·san·guine·ly, adverbnon·san·guine·ness, nouno·ver·san·guine, adjectiveo·ver·san·guine·ly, adverbo·ver·san·guine·ness, nounpre·san·guine, adjectivequa·si-san·guine, adjectivequa·si-san·guine·ly, adverbsu·per·san·guine, adjectivesu·per·san·guin·i·ty, nounun·san·guine, adjectiveun·san·guine·ly, adverb
Can be confusedsanguinary sanguine

Synonyms for sanguine

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Antonyms for sanguine

1. morose. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of sanguine

Historical Examples of sanguine

British Dictionary definitions for sanguine


  1. cheerful and confident; optimistic
  2. (esp of the complexion) ruddy in appearance
  3. blood-red
  4. an obsolete word for sanguinary (def. 2)
  1. Also called: red chalk a red pencil containing ferric oxide, used in drawing
Derived Formssanguinely, adverbsanguineness or sanguinity, noun

Word Origin for sanguine

C14: from Latin sanguineus bloody, from sanguis blood
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 sanguine

"blood-red," late 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French sanguin (fem. sanguine), from Latin sanguineus "of blood," also "bloody, bloodthirsty," from sanguis (genitive sanguinis) "blood" (see sanguinary). Meaning "cheerful, hopeful, confident" first attested c.1500, because these qualities were thought in medieval physiology to spring from an excess of blood as one of the four humors. Also in Middle English as a noun, "type of red cloth" (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sanguine in Medicine


  1. Of a healthy, reddish color; ruddy.
  2. Cheerfully confident; optimistic.
  3. Having blood as the dominant humor in terms of medieval physiology.
  4. Having the temperament and ruddy complexion that was formerly thought to be characteristic of a person dominated by this humor; passionate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.