brown study

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From obsolete brown (gloomy) and study.

Noun[edit]

brown study (plural brown studies)

  1. (idiomatic, dated) A melancholy mood accompanied by deep thought; a moody daydream.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
      So gathering up the shavings with another grin, and throwing them into the great stove in the middle of the room, he went about his business, and left me in a brown study.
    • 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Resident Patient":
      Finding that Holmes was too absorbed for conversation, I had tossed aside the barren paper, and leaning back in my chair, I fell into a brown study. Suddenly my companion's voice broke in upon my thoughts.
    • 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia, Faber & Faber 1992 (Avignon Quintet), p. 428:
      But Quatrefages glared at his plate in a brown study.

Usage notes[edit]

Usually said as "somebody is in a brown study".

Translations[edit]