Tag Archives: melancholy

An Etymology of Melancholy: Durer, Hugo, Sontag

melancholy (n.) c.1300, “condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability,” from Old French melancolie “black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance” (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia “sadness,” literally (excess of) “black bile,” from melas(genitive melanos) “black” (see melanin) + khole “bile” (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of “black … Continue reading

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An Etymology of Melancholy: Durer, Hugo, Sontag

melancholy (n.) c.1300, “condition characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability,” from Old French melancolie “black bile, ill disposition, anger, annoyance” (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia “sadness,” literally (excess of) “black bile,” from melas(genitive melanos) “black” (see melanin) + khole “bile” (see Chloe). Medieval physiology attributed depression to excess of “black … Continue reading

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Why Silly Matters

‘Silly Sally’ is a nickname I’ve been assigned since childhood – not only because it is euphonious in its alliterative assonance but, alas, because it’s often true.  Like many words originating in Old English, in this case in gesaelig – … Continue reading

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Lugubrious: The Dawn of Melancholy

Lugubrious – from the Latin lugubris, from lugēre to mourn; akin to Greek lygros – mournful – apparently first used in 1585, meaning mournful, gloomy, but especially and theatrically gloomy.  If the 1585 date is true, the use of this word pre-dates the publication of Robert … Continue reading

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