from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Inclined to melancholy.
  • adjective Having a peevish disposition; surly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Affected as if by black bile; melancholic or hypochondriacal; splenetic. See atrabile.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Melancholic or hypochondriac; atrabiliary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective characterized by melancholy
  • adjective ill-natured; malevolent

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective irritable as if suffering from indigestion


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Latin ātra bīlis, black bile (translation of Greek melankhōliā) : ātra, black; see āter- in Indo-European roots + bīlis, bile.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ātra bīlis ("black bile"), from āter ("dark, black"), + bīlis ("bile"). Then the adjective suffix -ous ("full of") was added.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • See also atramentous.

    January 14, 2007

  • "...he detected much of this same cheerfulness throughout the ship and something not very far from apparent unconcern, even in so atrabilious a soul as Killick."

    --P. O'Brian, The Wine-Dark Sea, 254

    March 16, 2008

  • See also atrabilarian.

    March 17, 2008

  • ""These conditions are appalling," said Sir Dabber with an atrabilious shake of the head."

    Under the Harrow by Mark Dunn, p 306

    September 4, 2011

  • According to Oxford English Dictionary, atrabilious means "affected by black bile or ‘choler adust’; melancholy, hypochondriac; splenetic, acrimonious."

    September 4, 2011