black bile

noun

Definition of black bile

: a humor of medieval physiology believed to be secreted by the kidneys or spleen and to cause melancholy

Examples of black bile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Illness was thought to be caused either by a blockage of a flow within the body or by an imbalance of the four humors (blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm). Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian Magazine, "Part of Being a Domestic Goddess in 17th Century Europe Was Making Medicines," 1 Mar. 2021 Four humors, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood, make up the human body. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of the Autopsy," 11 Nov. 2020 Partly based on the Greek philosophy of four humors — black bile, phlegm, yellow bile and blood — as the basis of emotions, temperament and health, bloodletting was believed to remedy disease caused by imbalanced humors. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Bloodletting and gas fumes: Quack treatments of the 1918 flu," 17 Oct. 2020 Roberta Bivins points out in her history of alternative medicine that for most of Western history, medical wisdom held that physical health relied on the balance of the four humors (blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm). Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, "Reiki Can’t Possibly Work. So Why Does It?," 7 Mar. 2020 Between the 2nd and the 18th centuries, medicine defined health depending on four humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. Fay Bound Alberti, Quartz, "The problem with medicalizing loneliness," 25 Nov. 2019 Galen, the Greco-Roman physician of the second century, argued that all human pathology could be conceptualized as imbalances of humors—black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019 The topic is Hippocrates’ psychological prototypes — melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric — based on ancient beliefs in four corresponding humors: black bile, blood, phlegm and yellow bile. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Joffrey’s intense, anything-but-safe ‘Modern Masters’ shows how American ballet got here," 8 Feb. 2018 Writers including Hippocrates and Galen believed the human body was composed of four humors, or fluids: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How Coffee, Chocolate and Tea Overturned a 1,500-Year-Old Medical Mindset," 17 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black bile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of black bile

1634, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of black bile was in 1634

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Cite this Entry

“Black bile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/black%20bile. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for black bile

black bile

noun

Medical Definition of black bile

: the one of the four humors of ancient and medieval physiology that was believed to be secreted by the kidneys and spleen and to cause melancholy

More from Merriam-Webster on black bile

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about black bile

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