[mel-uh n-koh-lee-uh, -kohl-yuh]


a mental condition characterized by great depression of spirits and gloomy forebodings.
Psychiatry. endogenous depression.

Origin of melancholia

From Late Latin, dating back to 1685–95; see origin at melancholy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for melancholia

Contemporary Examples of melancholia

Historical Examples of melancholia

  • The truth was that she had given signs of melancholia ever since the death of Antonin.


    Emile Zola

  • Melancholia is where is offered a good chance for Christian Science.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter

  • What if the gentleman in a sudden fit of melancholia had thrown himself into the lake?


    Jean Webster

  • Is not this a manifest case of insanity, in the form known as melancholia?

    Pages From an Old Volume of Life

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  • You're going to get out of this wretched, unkempt state of melancholia at once.

    A Village of Vagabonds

    F. Berkeley Smith

British Dictionary definitions for melancholia



a former name for depression
Derived Formsmelancholiac, adjective, noun
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 melancholia

1690s, from Modern Latin melancholia (see melancholy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

melancholia in Medicine




A mental disorder characterized by depression, apathy, and withdrawal.
Related formsmel′an•choli•ac (-lē-ăk′) adj. n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.