Definition of sanguinary in English:



  • Involving or causing much bloodshed.

    ‘they lost heavily in the sanguinary campaigns that followed’
    • ‘Even before this, the reaction of the badly frightened British had been sanguinary and included a revival of the old Mughal punishment of tying captured mutineers over the mouths of cannon and blowing them apart.’
    • ‘There are few more gruesome and sanguinary spectacles than a Tory leadership struggle: one lasting eight months is uncharted territory - a marathon of fear, loathing and betrayal.’
    • ‘Specifically, it might inspire them to revisit the politically arduous and philosophically complex struggle whereby modern liberalism overcame the sanguinary terror of religious conflict in post-Reformation Europe.’
    • ‘This time the sanguinary tale takes place in an uncomfortable meeting of her Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witch books.’
    • ‘This week, however, the fighting was particularly sanguinary, with reported casualties being suffered on both sides.’
    grisly, gruesome, violent, bloodthirsty, bloody, brutal, savage
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Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to blood’): from Latin sanguinarius, from sanguis, sanguin- ‘blood’.