- 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 melancholy
I found their melancholy inviting and I appreciated their contemplative, lonely world.The Stacks: Edward Hopper’s X-Ray Vision
October 25, 2014
In the first chapter, rebellious Holly Sykes runs away from home and headlong into the melancholy perils of first love.David Mitchell’s ‘The Bone Clocks’ Is Fun But Mostly Empty Calories
September 14, 2014
The slurring of relationships and transactions has effects ranging from the gruesome to the melancholy.Meet The Former Call Girl Saving Hookers For Jesus
Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig
July 13, 2014
Young and gracious faces, somewhat remote and proud, but with a melancholy and sweet kindness.The Real Memorial Day: Oliver Wendell Holmes's Salute To A Momentous American Anniversary
May 26, 2014
You know, Ack, the melancholy of it all is that we grew up there.War Nostalgia Is Leading Veterans to Places Like Syria. One Went Missing There.
May 3, 2014
If he be proved culpable in this most melancholy business, and, alas!
She pitied herself,—that lowest ebb of melancholy self-consciousness.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
"Trouble him not," murmured the melancholy man, with gentleness.The Christmas Banquet (From "Mosses From An Old Manse")
If the boys had not appeared we might now be weeping in a melancholy row.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
And that was to Andrew the most melancholy sound in the world.Way of the Lawless
- 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 melancholy
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.