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Word of the Day
Thursday, May 26, 2005

Definitions for saturnine

  1. sluggish in temperament; gloomy; taciturn.
  2. suffering from lead poisoning, as a person.
  3. due to absorption of lead, as bodily disorders.

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Citations for saturnine
Our Duke could not answer this, and therefore for the moment he yielded. But he was unhappy, saturnine, and generally silent except when closeted with his ancient mentor. Anthony Trollope, The Prime Minister, 1876
Younger citizens of the town do not know him at all save as a tall, apparently strong and healthy man who loafs in a brooding, saturnine fashion wherever he will be allowed, never exactly accepted by any group, and who makes no effort whatever to support his wife and three children. William Faulkner, "A Bear Hunt," Big Woods: The Hunting Stories, 1955
Origin of saturnine
late Middle English
Saturnine derives from the name of the planet Saturn, which in turn was named after the Roman god Saturnus. The original sense of the word had an astrological meaning, and referred to a person who was born under the influence of Saturn. Saturnine entered English early 1400s.