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From Latin ātra bīlis (black bile), from āter (dark, black), + bīlis (bile). Then the adjective suffix -ous (full of) was added.


atrabilious (comparative more atrabilious, superlative most atrabilious)

  1. characterized by melancholy
    Do we listen to pop music because of atrabiliousness, or are we atrabilious because we listen to pop music? (High Fidelity magazine paraphrase)
  2. ill-natured; malevolent
    • 1946, Edmund Crispin, The Moving Toyshop, page 40:
      Fen was in an atrabilious mood.
      "You've been the devil of a time," he grumbled as Lily Christine III got under way again.