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From Ancient Greek μελαγχολικός (melankholikós, atrabilious, impulsive, of atrabilious or melancholic temperament), from μελαγχολία (melankholía, melancholy).


melancholic (comparative more melancholic, superlative most melancholic)

  1. Filled with or affected by melancholy—great sadness or depression, especially of a thoughtful or introspective nature.
    • 1718, Mat[thew] Prior, “Alma: Or, The Progress of the Mind”, in Poems on Several Occasions, London: [] Jacob Tonson [], and John Barber [], OCLC 5634253:
      Just as the melancholic eye / Sees fleets and armies in the sky.



melancholic (plural melancholics)

  1. A person who is habitually melancholy.
    • 2008 March 16, Garrison Keillor, “Woe Be Gone”, in New York Times[1]:
      Kafka, Hart Crane, Jackson Pollock, Tennessee Williams, Mark Rothko, melancholics all, so why shouldn’t we accept our own bleakness and take long walks in the winter woods and look at the gnarled limbs of trees and struggle with the inscrutable and accept the beauty of permanent turmoil?