Word a Day

Word a Day: Sanguine

I’m a fan of speaking intelligently, and even eloquently. However, I often run into people who say something along the lines of, “Why people usin’ them big ol’ fancy words and whatnot?” The Word a Day project is where I attempt to do my part in eradicating that sort of mindset, in hopes that we can all grow our vocabularies and learn to express ourselves in more diverse and meaningful ways. Some of these are words I knew before starting this project, some are not. Let’s learn together.

Sanguine – optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation; blood-red

adjective: sanguine
noun: sanguine

I’ve never been accused of being an overly chipper person, but it wasn’t until recently that some of my friends started labeling me as a bit of a curmudgeon. I don’t know where they got that idea, and I don’t particularly care to find out; they’re stupid. There are, however, a subset of people who remain positive in the face of overwhelming adversity. Maybe their car broke down on the side of the road next to an establishment with a sign saying “Bates Motel”, but they won’t let that get in the way of having a can-do attitude, by golly. These people can be described as sanguine. They prefer to see the light at the end of the tunnel, while I prefer to tell them it’s not a light. They’re having a stroke.

Sanguine can also be used to describe something with a healthy reddish color very similar to blood. You could describe a beautiful sunset as being sanguine, or even the blood spilt forth from a thousand kittens. Whichever floats your boat, really.

Can you use it in a sentence, please?

“His sanguine approach to this difficult situation made me want to throw my hands up in the air, but not like I just don’t care. Because I absolutely DO care, Carl. Too much, sometimes.”

Do people actually use this word anymore?

Sadly—like most good things in America—it has been in rapid decline.


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