black bile

noun

: the one of the four humors (see humor entry 1 sense 2c) in ancient and medieval physiology that was believed to be cold and dry and to cause melancholy and cowardice

Examples of black bile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The theory contends that four fluids — blood, choler (yellow bile), phlegm and black bile — make up the body and must maintain balance for good health. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 5 Apr. 2023 After all, black bile, it was believed, caused not only sadness, but also lovesickness, irrational behavior, and uncontrolled physical impulses. Mina Seçkin, refinery29.com, 16 Nov. 2021 Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is sometimes called the father of medicine, wrote in the fifth century B.C.E. that the body has four humors—phlegm, yellow bile, black bile, and blood—which correspond to the hot, cold, wet, and dry weather of the Mediterranean. Lorraine Boissoneault, The New Yorker, 30 July 2022 As for those who gallivanted about merely for their own revels, everyone else hoped that they would get bitten and—though ’twas sort of frowned upon to declare aloud—not necessarily remain monsters but perhaps spend several weeks retching black bile. Teddy Wayne, The New Yorker, 27 Sep. 2021 Foods could also cause imbalance: mustard and the brightly colored edible flower nasturtium produced reddish bile, lentils and cabbage black bile, and leeks, onions, and garlic created evil humors in the blood. Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2021 Bale's deathly, head-scarred Gorr, whose inky mouth drips black bile, is charged with bringing the fear. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 10 July 2022 If there wasn’t enough blood in your mix, for instance, enemas would be prescribed to draw out black bile, along with vomiting to bring up yellow bile. Jack Feerick, Discover Magazine, 16 Dec. 2020 An excess of yellow bile, for instance, caused rheumatism; too much black bile caused cancer. Jack Feerick, Discover Magazine, 16 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'black bile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1634, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of black bile was in 1634

Dictionary Entries Near black bile

Cite this Entry

“Black bile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/black%20bile. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition

black bile

noun
: the one of the four humors (see humor sense 2) in ancient and medieval physiology that was believed to be cold and dry and to cause melancholy and cowardice

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