- a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged; depression.
- sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.
- the condition of having too much black bile, considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression.
- black bile.
- affected with, characterized by, or showing melancholy; mournful; depressed: a melancholy mood.
- causing melancholy or sadness; saddening: a melancholy occasion.
- soberly thoughtful; pensive.
Origin of melancholy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for melancholies
And still the man was strange, for often he had melancholies.The Shoes of Fortune
Let Oliver take comfort in his dark sorrows and melancholies.Life Without and Life Within
Moreover, every body knows how wonderfully the mind is disturbed in melancholies.Medica Sacra
But their melancholies had rapidly evaporated in the warmth of the unexpected encounter.Helen with the High Hand (2nd ed.)
- a constitutional tendency to gloominess or depression
- a sad thoughtful state of mind; pensiveness
- a gloomy character, thought to be caused by too much black bile
- one of the four bodily humours; black bileSee humour (def. 8)
- characterized by, causing, or expressing sadness, dejection, etc
Word Origin and History for melancholies
c.1300, "condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability," from Old French melancolie "black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance" (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia "sadness," literally (excess of) "black bile," from melas (genitive melanos) "black" (see melanin) + khole "bile" (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of "black bile," a secretion of the spleen and one of the body's four "humors."
The Latin word also is the source of Spanish melancolia, Italian melancolia, German Melancholie, Danish melankoli, etc. Old French variant malencolie (also in Middle English) is by false association with mal "sickness."
late 14c., "with or caused by black bile; sullen, gloomy, sad," from melancholy (n.); sense of "deplorable" (of a fact or state of things) is from 1710.
- Sadness or depression of the spirits; gloom.