black bile


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 After all, black bile, it was believed, caused not only sadness, but also lovesickness, irrational behaviour, and uncontrolled physical impulses. Mina Seçkin,, 17 Nov. 2021 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, 1 Mar. 2021 Four humors, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood, make up the human body. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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,, 8 Feb. 2018 See More

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.

First Known Use of black bile

1634, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for black bile

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The first known use of black bile was in 1634

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Dictionary Entries Near black bile

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black bile

black-billed cuckoo

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Cite this Entry

“Black bile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for black bile

black bile


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 Encyclopedia article about black bile


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