Adventures in Etymology: Saturnine

adventures-in-etymology-banner

Saturnine

saturn

Reason for Adventure

It popped up in Catch 22 by Joseph Heller as a description for a character and I was curious to know what the characteristics of someone resembling a planet were exactly.

Dictionary.com Definitions/Origins

Form:
Adjective
Definition:
1. sluggish in temperament; gloomy; taciturn.
2. suffering from lead poisoning, as a person.
3. due to absorption of lead, as bodily disorders.
Origin: 
1400–50; late Middle English  < Medieval Latin sāturnīnus  (see Saturn,-ine)

Related forms:
Sat·ur·nine·ly, adverb
Sat·ur·nine·ness, sat·ur·nin·i·ty [sat-er-nin-i-tee], noun

Source:
saturnine. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved March 06, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/saturnine


Online Etymology Dictionary Information

saturnine (adj.) “gloomy, morose, sluggish, grave,” mid-15c., literally “born under the influence of the planet Saturn,” from Middle English Saturne (see Saturn). 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.

Source:
Harper, D. (2012). Online etymology dictionary. Retrieved March 6, 2013 from http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=saturnine&allowed_in_frame=0

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Adventures in Etymology: Saturnine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s