- A feeling of intense sadness with no obvious cause.
- Having a sad and/or pensive mood. (e.g., music or a written work)
Etymology: Middle English from Old French melancolie, via late Latin from the Greek melancholia, which means ‘black’ (melan) ‘bile’ (khole).
“Melancholia” was a medical concept from the ancient all the way to the premodern era in Europe that diagnosed someone as having “black bile” if they were suffering from the classic symptoms of depression — depressed mood, physical complaints and even delusions or hallucinations.
The concept was part of the theory of Humorism, the belief that to ensure good health, the four bodily humors (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood) needed to be an inappropriate balance according to the strength of each one.
It was believed that an imbalance in one of the humors was responsible for illness.
In a Sentence
His melancholy was obvious to those who saw him that day.
At the memorial, melancholy music was playing in the background.
The melancholy in her mother’s voice told her this was not going to be good news.