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atrabilious +‎ -ness


  • IPA(key): /ˌætɹəˈbɪliəsnəs/
  • Hyphenation: atra‧bili‧ous‧ness


atrabiliousness ‎(uncountable)

  1. The state or quality of being atrabilious.
    1. (medicine, obsolete) The state or quality of having an excess of black bile.
      • 2001, Francisco Hernández; Rafael Chabrán, Cynthia L. Chamberlin, Simon Varey, transls., “On the Illness in New Spain in the Year 1576, Called Cocoliztli by the Indians”, in Simon Varey, editor, The Mexican Treasury: The Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, ISBN 978-0-8047-3963-4, page 84:
        Furthermore, the urine of some was both profuse and pale, autopsies showed that the dead had very swollen liver, blackened heart emitting a pale yellow liquid and later, black blood, black and semiputrefied spleen and lungs; atrabiliousness could be seen in their blood vessels, the dry stomach and the rest of the body, wherever it was dissected, was extremely pale.
      • 2010, Patrick E. Iroegbu, Healing Insanity: A Study of Igbo Medicine in Contemporary Nigeria, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris Corporation, ISBN 978-1-4500-9628-7, page 488:
        The fruits are small oranges and are used in mixtures serving as preservative, antidote to bacteria, softening of the heat effects of diseases, atrabiliousness, debility, and infirmity.
    2. Grumpiness, irritability, melancholy, moroseness.
      • 1789, anonymous [Robert Potter], The Art of Criticism; as Exemplified in Dr. Johnson's Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, London: Printed for T. Hookham, New Bond Street, OCLC 83436324, page 191:
        Of his [Samuel Johnson's] works; though they have little of originality, and his ſtyle has a certain atrabiliouſneſs, and his tiſſue of paragraphs an unpleaſing quaintneſs, it must be confeſſed that his Dictionary, Rambler, and the two imitative translations of tranſlations of Juvenal, &c. are very excellent; []
      • 1893, Bret Harte, The Works of Bret Harte: Sally Dows, and other Sketches [The Works of Bret Harte; 5], New York, N.Y.: McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie, OCLC 6691538, pages 20–21:
        Drummond, whose gorge had risen at these evidences of hopeless incapacity and utter shiftlessness, was not relieved by the presence of Mrs. Reed – a soured, disappointed woman of forty, who still carried in her small dark eyes and thin handsome lips something of the bitterness and antagonism of the typical "Southern rights" woman; nor of her two daughters, Octavia and Augusta, whose languid atrabiliousness seemed a part of the mourning they still wore.
      • 1948, Willard Price, Roving South, Rio Grande to Patagonia, New York, N.Y.: J. Day Co., OCLC 1358700, page 13:
        Terry, author of the indispensable Terry's Guide to Mexico, has a name for it – atrabiliousness. "The defect of many of the murals," he says, speaking of those in the orphan asylum, "is the facial atrabiliousness of some of the subjects. To the observer it minimizes the grandeur of the conception [] "
      • 2013, Anne-Marie Millim, “‘Troops of Unrecording Friends’: Vicarious Celebrity in the Memoir”, in Charlotte Boyce, Páraic Finnerty, Anne-Marie Millim, Victorian Celebrity Culture and Tennyson's Circle, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-137-00793-3:
        The text is 'suffused with decorous domesticity', which, [Richard] Altick has argued, is due to its rigorous omission of the 'idiosyncrasies that made [[Alfred, Lord] Tennyson] the engaging and often formidable character he was – his vanity, his atrabiliousness [and] his shaggy Lincolnshire abruptness.'


For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:atrabiliousness.

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