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Word of the Day
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Definitions for atrabilious

  1. gloomy; morose; melancholy; morbid.
  2. irritable; bad-tempered; splenetic.

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Citations for atrabilious
It was remarked by Aristotle, who was a long way the shrewdest and most scientific observer of antiquity, that all men of genius have been melancholic or atrabilious. James Sully, "Genius and Insanity," The Popular Science Monthly, August 1885
It was doubly shocking in being as much about her as about him: a portrait of the silently suffering and profoundly unfulfilled wife as well as the brilliant, atrabilious and harshly egocentric husband. John Pemble, "Resurrecting the Tudors," London Review of Books, May 23, 2015
Origin of atrabilious
Atrabilious comes from the Latin ātra bīlis meaning "black bile." Black bile is one of the four elemental bodily humors of medieval physiology, regarded as causing melancholy. Atrabilious entered English in the mid-1600s.