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  1. Physiology, Pathology. pertaining to bile or to an excess secretion of bile.
  2. Pathology. suffering from, caused by, or attended by trouble with the bile or liver.
  3. peevish; irritable; cranky.
  4. 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

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for biliousness

Historical Examples of biliousness

British Dictionary definitions for biliousness


  1. of or relating to bile
  2. affected with or denoting any disorder related to excess secretion of bile
  3. informal (esp of colours) extremely distasteful; nauseatinga bilious green
  4. 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 biliousness



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

biliousness in Medicine


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