Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wordly Uh-Oh

I realized today that I've been misusing the word "sanguine" for years. It means "heartily cheerful" and not "admirably level-headed and calm," like I thought it did. I've been conflating it with "sangfroid."

The temperamental word that comes closest to what I meant is "phlegmatic," which has obviously unappealing secondary connotations. So essentially there's no adjective that I can substitute for the word I thought was "sanguine." This is even worse than the time with "nonplussed," or with "bemused."

I guess I could just say "calm," but that's no fun. Maybe "sangfroidish," like sang-FWAHD-ish.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about 'unflappable' or 'serene' or 'imperturbable'?
Although surely there is a German word that literally translates to 'level-headed and calm to the grave consternation of frenetically unhappy passers-by.'

Mom

1/07/2009 1:38 PM  
Blogger Dan B. said...

At least it's something to rhyme with penguin: http://www.warehousecomic.com/comic_315.php

1/08/2009 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Stu said...

Yeah, sanguine like jus sanquinis, from the latin word for blood. I think it dates back to the humors. Like phlegm and phlegmatic, right?

1/08/2009 5:24 PM  

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