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[sang-gwuh-ner-ee] /ˈsæŋ gwəˌnɛr i/
full of or characterized by bloodshed; bloody:
a sanguinary struggle.
ready or eager to shed blood; bloodthirsty.
composed of or marked with blood.
Origin of sanguinary
First recorded in 1540-50, sanguinary is from the Latin word sanguinārius bloody. See sanguine, -ary
Related forms
sanguinarily, adverb
sanguinariness, noun
unsanguinarily, adverb
unsanguinariness, noun
unsanguinary, adjective
Can be confused
sanguinary, sanguine.
2. murderous, cruel, savage.
2. kind. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sanguinary
Historical Examples
  • There were ten sanguinary persecutions, some being atrocious.

  • 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.

    The Land We Live In

    Henry Mann
  • It has been cursed with expensive and unstable governments and sanguinary wars.

  • As it chanced, however, neither succumbed in that sanguinary strife.

    The Ocean Waifs Mayne Reid
  • That it may have often given a sanguinary tone to their fancies I have every reason to believe.

  • For some of these same Quakers are the most sanguinary of all sailors and whale-hunters.

    Moby Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville
  • Well, you ran against a snag that time, Mr. sanguinary Stingaree!


    E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung
British Dictionary definitions for sanguinary


accompanied by much bloodshed
consisting of, flowing, or stained with blood
Derived Forms
sanguinarily, adverb
sanguinariness, 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
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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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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