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[bil-yuh s] /ˈbɪl yəs/
Physiology, Pathology. pertaining to bile or to an excess secretion of bile.
Pathology. suffering from, caused by, or attended by trouble with the bile or liver.
peevish; irritable; cranky.
extremely unpleasant or distasteful:
a long scarf of bright, bilious green.
Origin of bilious
From the Latin word bīliōsus, dating back to 1535-45. See bile, -ous
Related forms
biliously, adverb
biliousness, noun
nonbilious, adjective
nonbiliously, adverb
nonbiliousness, noun
unbilious, adjective
unbiliously, adverb
unbiliousness, noun
3. grumpy, crabby, cross, grouchy, dyspeptic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bilious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What signifies the blare of your brass, or the bilious bleating of your wood-wind!

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • Their bloodless, pinched, yellow faces were like the faces of bilious invalids.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
  • The doctor was sent for and diagnosed the case "bilious fever."

  • I've put away so much of that sweet slush now that I'll be bilious for a week.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • His face was long, thin and yellow, of a bilious appearance.

    The Hand in the Dark Arthur J. Rees
  • In India it is used for the piles and as an alterative for bilious disorders.

British Dictionary definitions for bilious


of or relating to bile
affected with or denoting any disorder related to excess secretion of bile
(informal) (esp of colours) extremely distasteful; nauseating: a bilious green
(informal) bad-tempered; irritable
Derived Forms
biliousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin bīliōsus full of bile1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bilious

1540s, "pertaining to bile, biliary," from French bilieux, from Latin biliosus "pertaining to bile," from bilis (see bile). Meaning "wrathful, peevish, ill-tempered" (as people afflicted with an excess of bile were believed to be) is attested from 1560s. This is the main modern sense in English and French; the more literal meaning being taken up by biliary. Related: Biliousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bilious in Medicine

bilious bil·ious (bĭl'yəs)

  1. Of, relating to, or containing bile; biliary.

  2. Characterized by an excess secretion of bile.

  3. Relating to, characterized by, or experiencing gastric distress caused by a disorder of the liver or gallbladder.

bil'ious·ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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