noun, plural mel·an·chol·ies.
- the condition of having too much black bile, considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression.
- black bile.
Origin of melancholy
Synonyms for melancholy
Antonyms for melancholy
Examples from the Web for melancholiness
Historical Examples of melancholiness
The days came and went, and after a few months of melancholiness he grew a little bit better.The Silver Lining
noun plural -cholies
- a gloomy character, thought to be caused by too much black bile
- one of the four bodily humours; black bileSee humour (def. 8)
Word Origin 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.