One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Melancholy or ill-tempered.
bad-tempered, ill-tempered, ill-humoured, angry, wrathful, cross, peevish, petulant, pettish, irritable, irascible, cantankerous, choleric, dyspeptic, testy, tetchy, snappish, waspish, crotchety, crabby, crabbed, querulous, resentful, rancorous, bilious, sour, bitter, acid, liverishView synonyms
- ‘The atrabilious maladies to which artists were supposedly vulnerable included lovesickness and plague.’
- ‘When the atrabilious humour is in too much abundance melancholia, characterized by aversion to food, despondency, sleeplessness, irritability, restlessness and depression could result.’
- ‘It is beneficial to atrabilious persons.’
- ‘Serena refused to invite the atrabilious Mr. Morne, who could spoil a party just by opening his mouth.’
- ‘The atrabilious temperament or melancholia is, according to Aristotle, a natural disposition in which there is a preponderance of black bile over the other humours.’
- ‘He was proud, morose, and atrabilious; he rarely answered letters; he showed contempt for all who differed from his views and reacted violently to criticism.’
Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘affected by black bile’, one of the four supposed cardinal humors of the body, believed to cause melancholy): from Latin atra bilis ‘black bile’, translation of Greek melankholia ‘melancholy’, + -ious.
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