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[sat-er-nahyn] /ˈsæt ərˌnaɪn/
sluggish in temperament; gloomy; taciturn.
suffering from lead poisoning, as a person.
due to absorption of lead, as bodily disorders.
Origin of saturnine
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin sāturnīnus (see Saturn, -ine1)
Related forms
saturninely, adverb
saturnineness, saturninity
[sat-er-nin-i-tee] /ˌsæt ərˈnɪn ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for saturnine
  • Slow, deep curves connect this forehead to fenders containing two hooded, saturnine eyes.
  • Levy is wide-shouldered and tight-suited, with careful hair and a saturnine expression.
  • For the saturnine creature is decidedly popular right now.
  • He is noticeably saturnine and stiff, not to mention a little foolish-looking, with a ridge of hair across his shaven head.
  • Her saturnine look in the movie mirrors that in several collections on the fall runways.
  • It's a little higher and faster, but with odd, devastating pauses and saturnine shades of mockery.
British Dictionary definitions for saturnine


having a gloomy temperament; taciturn
  1. of or relating to lead
  2. having or symptomatic of lead poisoning
Derived Forms
saturninely, adverb
saturninity (ˌsætəˈnɪnɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C15: from French saturnin, from Medieval Latin sāturnīnus (unattested), from Latin Sāturnus Saturn, with reference to the gloomy influence attributed to the planet Saturn
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 saturnine

"gloomy, morose, sluggish, grave," mid-15c., literally "born under the influence of the planet Saturn," from Middle English Saturne (see Saturn) + -ine (1). Medieval physiology believed these characteristics to be caused by the astrological influence of the planet Saturn, which was the most remote from the Sun (in the limited knowledge of the times) and thus coldest and slowest in its revolution.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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saturnine in Medicine

saturnine sat·ur·nine (sāt'ər-nīn')

  1. Melancholy or sullen.

  2. Produced by absorption of lead.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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