Dictionary.com

melancholy

[ mel-uhn-kol-ee ]
/ ˈmɛl ənˌkɒl i /
Save This Word!

noun, plural mel·an·chol·ies.
a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged; depression.
sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.
Archaic.
  1. the condition of having too much black bile, considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression.
  2. black bile.
adjective
affected with, characterized by, or showing melancholy; mournful; depressed: a melancholy mood.
causing melancholy or sadness; saddening: a melancholy occasion.
soberly thoughtful; pensive.

VIDEO FOR MELANCHOLY

The Bizarre Origin Of The Word "Melancholy"

The meaning of melancholy was never a good thing, but it was way worse in medieval times … kind of like everything else back then when I think about it, actually.

MORE VIDEOS FROM DICTIONARY.COM
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of melancholy

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English melancholie, from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melancholía ”condition of having black bile,” equivalent to melan- “black” + chol(ḗ) “bile, gall” + -ia noun suffix; see origin at melan(o)-, chol-, -ia

OTHER WORDS FROM melancholy

mel·an·chol·i·ly, adverbmel·an·chol·i·ness, nounun·mel·an·chol·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use melancholy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for melancholy

melancholy
/ (ˈmɛlənkəlɪ) /

noun plural -cholies
a constitutional tendency to gloominess or depression
a sad thoughtful state of mind; pensiveness
archaic
  1. a gloomy character, thought to be caused by too much black bile
  2. one of the four bodily humours; black bileSee humour (def. 8)
adjective
characterized by, causing, or expressing sadness, dejection, etc

Derived forms of melancholy

melancholily (ˈmɛlənˌkɒlɪlɪ), adverbmelancholiness, noun

Word Origin for melancholy

C14: via Old French from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia, from melas black + kholē bile
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
FEEDBACK