Sangfroid – Meaning & Examples

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

The English language takes advantage of many loanwords. These words originated in other countries but have stayed true to their original meanings and pronunciations. They are often colorful and descriptive words and phrases that add to the tone and detail of an author’s message.

Sangfroid is a great example of this. Originally a French word, sangfroid, or sang-froid, literally translates as cold blood but is used to mean cool and calm when used in context. Let’s take a closer look at the origins of this word and how to use it in English properly.

What Does Sangfroid Mean?

Sangfroid Meaning Examples

Sangfroid, or sang-froid, is a noun that means the ability to keep your cool or a calmness under great strain. One can be sangfroid or show great sangfroid in a difficult or trying situation.

For example:

  • Despite being the newest hire, she exhibited excellent sangfroid and humor when placed under pressure when living on the station’s social media channels.
  • There was no doubt the sangfroid and bravery he showed in the face of adversity took a lot of energy, but in doing so, he was able to gain the respect of all involved.
  • In order to understand the situation, one needs to be clear concerning the Irish sangfroid related to their history with the rest of the UK.

In French, sang-froid translates into English as cold blood. To be cold-blooded in English usually has negative associations since it means to have no emotion in a situation that should elicit great emotion. But, not being an English term, it means to be cold, cool, or composed in the face of tension or a challenge to meet it head-on and succeed.

Is It Sangfroid or Sang-froid?

Sangfroid vs Sang Froid Ngram
Sangfroid and sang-froid usage trend.

Sometimes dictionaries list a spelling variation as sang-froid with a hyphen. This comes from the original French spelling. However, most English usage drops the hyphen.

How Do You Pronounce Sangfroid?

English does keep the pronunciation from the French, and sangfroid is \ˈsäⁿ-ˈf(r)wä\ (sahn-frah).

Sangfroid Origins

Sangfroid Ngram
Sangfroid usage trend.

The original spelling, sang-froid, is from the early 18th century, meaning cool or cold blood. The French word sang means blood from the Latin sanguis, and froid means cold from the Latin frigidus.

Let’s Review

Sangfroid is a noun that means composure in the face of adversity. Although the preferred English spelling is a sans hyphen, spelling it as sang-froid is also acceptable.

Sangfroid is a French-derived loanword that has been in use since the early 18th century and translates literally as cold blood. It does not, however, have the negative connotation of the term cold-blooded and instead refers to a cool, calm strength when faced with a challenge.