Sanguine

Sanguine

ˈsaNGɡwən

Noun

  • A blood-red color.
  • (Heraldry) A blood-red stain used in blazoning.

Adjective

  • Optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation.
  • (Literary & Heraldry) Blood-red.

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Example Sentences

“At the renaissance fair, the sanguine banners flew high over the crowd.”

“While it looks like rain will be continuing all afternoon, my son is still sanguine about the strong attendance at his birthday party.” 

“Those bushes bloom with sanguine roses every year.”

Word Origin

Latin, early 14th century

Why this word?

In medieval medicinal practice, four “humors” dictated a patient’s overall health: sanguine (blood), choleric (yellow bile), melancholic (black bile), and phlegmatic (phlegm). Medieval doctors used to describe patients as sanguine if they had flushed skin, and this was considered a sign of good health. While the diagnostic use of humors has long been disproved, the adjective “sanguine” can still be applied to someone with an optimistic outlook (especially in a tough situation). Etymologically, the word comes from the Latin for “of blood.”

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