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From Latin sanguinārius.


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


sanguinary (comparative more sanguinary, superlative most sanguinary)

  1. (of an event) Involving bloodshed.
    Synonyms: bloody, gory
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, "Unity in Religion" (Google preview):
      We may not propagate religion by wars, or by sanguinary persecutions to force consciences.
    • 1887, Henry Rider Haggard, Allan Quatermain, Chapter XIII:
      " [] every one of which took its rise from some noble family that succeeded in grasping the purple after a sanguinary struggle."
  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[1], page 126:
      "The defence set up for Mahomet is equally availing for every sanguinary and revengeful tyrant; [] "
  3. (of an object) Consisting of, covered with, or similar in appearance to blood.
    Synonyms: bloodsoaked, bloody, gory
    • 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.

Usage notesEdit

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

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


sanguinary (plural sanguinaries)

  1. A bloodthirsty person.
  2. The plant yarrow, or herba sanguinaria.