Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English sanguinarie, from Latin sanguinārius.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsæŋɡwɪnəɹi/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsæŋɡwɪnɛɹi/
  • Hyphenation: san‧gui‧nar‧y


sanguinary (comparative more sanguinary, superlative most sanguinary)

  1. (of an event) Involving bloodshed.
    Synonyms: bloody, gory
  2. (of a person) Eager to shed blood; bloodthirsty.
    Synonyms: bloodthirsty, bloody-minded, butcherous, slaughterous
    • c. 1730, William Broome:
      Passion [] makes us brutal and sanguinary.
    • 1877, Samuel Green, The Life of Mahomet: Founder of the Religion of Islamism and of the Empire of the Saracens with Notices of the History of Islamism and of Arabia[2], page 126:
      "The defence set up for Mahomet is equally availing for every sanguinary and revengeful tyrant; [] "
  3. Consisting of, covered with, or similar in appearance to blood.
    Synonyms: bloodsoaked, bloody, gory
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 928184292:
      I was once, I remember, called to a patient who had received a violent contusion in his tibia, by which the exterior cutis was lacerated, so that there was a profuse sanguinary discharge []
    • 1913, H. G. Wells, Little Wars, Section VI:
      Here is the premeditation, the thrill, the strain of accumulating victory or disaster—and no smashed nor sanguinary bodies [] , that we who are old enough to remember a real modern war know to be the reality of belligerence.
    • 1929, Robert Dean Frisbee, The Book of Puka-Puka (republished by Eland, 2019; p. 117):
      We reached the Point just as a flood of sunset light was dripping from the heavens, staining the lagoon an ominous, sanguinary hue.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Not to be confused with sanguine. Sanguine can mean “optimistic”, while sanguinary means “bloodthirsty, gory”.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


sanguinary (plural sanguinaries)

  1. A bloodthirsty person.
  2. The plant common yarrow, or herba sanguinaria (Achillea millefolium).