From Old French melancolie, from Ancient Greek μελαγχολία (melankholía, “atrabiliousness”), from μέλας (mélas), μελαν- (melan-, “black, dark, murky”) + χολή (kholḗ, “bile”). Compare the Latin ātra bīlis (“black bile”).
- Affected with great sadness or depression.
- Melancholy people don't talk much.
1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
- “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes […] . And then, when you see [the senders], you probably find that they are the most melancholy old folk with malignant diseases. […]”
melancholy (plural melancholies)
- (historical) Black bile, formerly thought to be one of the four "cardinal humours" of animal bodies.
- Great sadness or depression, especially of a thoughtful or introspective nature.