Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 25, 2003


\KOL-uh-rik; kuh-LAIR-ik\ , adjective;
Easily irritated; inclined to anger; bad-tempered.
Angry; indicating or expressing anger; excited by anger.
At his trial, Ferrars argued that he had always been of such choleric disposition that, at times when his blood was up, he knew not right from wrong.
-- Theodore Dalrymple, "Rages of the Age: On 'road rage,' 'air rage,' 'rink rage' . . .", National Review, February 11, 2002
But the records of his service show that Jacobsz was also choleric, quick-tempered, and sensitive to any slight; that he sometimes drank to excess.
-- Mike Dash, Batavia's Graveyard
The expression in his face -- pinched, vengeful, and mean -- could assign to a choleric temperament or a display of tactical emotion on the part of a clever bully.
-- Lewis H. Lapham, "Notebook", Harper's Magazine, February 2001
A portrait of Dalrymple in middle age shows him to be of corpulent figure with petulant lips, beefy face, and choleric eyes that glare accusingly at the viewer.
-- Alan Gurney, Below the Convergence
Choleric is the adjective form of choler, "yellow bile," from Latin cholera, "a bilious disease," from Greek kholera, from khole, "bile." Choler was supposed by medieval physicians to be the source of irritability.
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