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 formsbil·ious·ly, adverbbil·ious·ness, nounnon·bil·ious, adjectivenon·bil·ious·ly, adverbnon·bil·ious·ness, nounun·bil·ious, adjectiveun·bil·ious·ly, adverbun·bil·ious·ness, noun

Synonyms for bilious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bilious

Contemporary Examples of bilious

Historical Examples of bilious

  • What signifies the blare of your brass, or the bilious bleating of your wood-wind!


    James Huneker

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


    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

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; nauseatinga bilious green
informal bad-tempered; irritable
Derived Formsbiliousness, noun

Word Origin for bilious

C16: from Latin bīliōsus full of bile 1
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

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

Medicine definitions for bilious




Of, relating to, or containing bile; biliary.
Characterized by an excess secretion of bile.
Relating to, characterized by, or experiencing gastric distress caused by a disorder of the liver or gallbladder.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.