Definition of black bile in English:

black bile

Syllabification: black bile


  • (In medieval science and medicine) one of the four bodily humors, believed to be associated with a melancholy temperament. Also called melancholy.
    More example sentences
    • Our bodies were thought to be composed of blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile just as the world at large consisted of earth, air, fire, and water.
    • He subscribes, at least in part, to the ancient belief that diseases are caused by an imbalance in the body's four humors: yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm.
    • So if you've got an excess of black bile, you're melancholy; if there's a lot of blood running through you, you're sanguine.


late 18th century: translation of Greek melankholia (see melancholy). Compare with atrabilious.

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