melancholy

noun
mel·an·choly | \ˈme-lən-ˌkä-lē \
plural melancholies

Definition of melancholy 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an abnormal state attributed to an excess of black bile and characterized by irascibility or depression

b : black bile

c : melancholia

2a : depression of spirits : dejection great outbursts of creativity alternate with feelings of extreme melancholy— Brenda Lane Richardson

b : a pensive mood a fine romantic kind of a melancholy on the fading of the year— Richard Holmes

melancholy

adjective
mel·an·choly | \ˈme-lən-ˌkä-lē \

Definition of melancholy (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : suggestive or expressive of sadness or depression of mind or spirit sang in a melancholy voice

b : causing or tending to cause sadness or depression of mind or spirit : dismal a melancholy thought

2a : depressed in spirits : dejected, sad

b : pensive

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Examples of melancholy in a Sentence

Noun

the bleakness of winter sometimes gives me cause for melancholy

Adjective

A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realization that you can't make old friends. — Christopher Hitchens, Harper's, June 1999 He has a snarled mop of spiky black hair, melancholy circles around his eyes, and a tiny Cupid's-bow mouth. — Pauline Kael, New Yorker, 17 Dec. 1990 I see your mournful party in my mind's eye under every varying circumstance of the day;  … the efforts to talk, the frequent summons to melancholy orders and cares, and poor Edward, restless in misery, going from one room to the other … — Jane Austen, letter, 24 Oct. 1808 She was in a melancholy mood. He became quiet and melancholy as the hours slowly passed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For those seeking a reprieve from the loud and relentlessly positive, the gorgeous melancholy of Memphis singer-songwriter Julien Baker (4:35 p.m.) is just what the doctor ordered. Terence Cawley, BostonGlobe.com, "Too many choices at Boston Calling? Here’s some help.," 23 May 2018 Yet his long shots of the men, motionless and alone, express a melancholy and isolation that’s oddly touching. Denis Côté, New York Times, "Review: Six Strongmen Cultivate ‘A Skin So Soft’," 5 July 2018 Her bouts of melancholy are an old story with the family. Vivian Gornick, New York Times, "James Wood’s New Novel Confronts the Mystery of Other Minds," 14 June 2018 However, from the depths of the peninsula’s melancholy came an unrivalled show of character, as Italy found a way back into the game through Tarcisio Burgnich. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 12 Weeks to Go - Italy & West Germany's 'Game of the Century'," 1 Apr. 2018 What makes the piece so striking is the grandeur, and the huge melancholy of it. Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF Symphony brings ‘Boris Godunov’ to concert stage," 12 June 2018 But there are fates worse than death, as Oleg could tell you, and lives that can be happy here and there but are still lived with that hint of melancholy of what once was but is no longer, as everybody on the show could tell you. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Americans finale proved there are TV fates worse than death," 2 June 2018 As evidenced by recent countrywide protests over guns and gender rights, the country may have awoken from its apathy, but America will always have reserves of solipsistic melancholy. New York Times, "That Feeling When You Miss the Early 2000s," 8 May 2018 That shift has muted the music’s rhythmic attack and timbre, but the process has also imbued it with a new deep melancholy. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "A Hawk and a Hacksaw embrace a darker, muted sound on their first new album in five years," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The world of gigantic cargo ships and goods that are transported and sold globally is of course the polar opposite of Thoreau’s vision of intimate tranquility, making the title at once melancholy and ironic. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Walden': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 12 July 2018 La Vie en Rose In 2007, Fallon Shea Anderson had green hair, a melancholy outlook, and a job in retail. Sunset, "22 Favorite Roses to Grow," 22 Jan. 2018 But unlike most films of that genre, Mary Page Marlowe is concerned with finding the pathos, the melancholy beauty in a life that in most respects is unremarkable. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mary Page Marlowe': Theater Review," 13 July 2018 Alternative rock, heavy metal, melancholy pop songs with enigmatic lyrics, ripe for interpretation and discussion. Mark Arsenault, BostonGlobe.com, "Secrets of a Lost Girl," 24 June 2018 His slightly melancholy songs have echoes of R&B, hip-hop, eighties synthesizer pop, and American folk music. Carina Chocano, Vogue, "Khalid Talks High School Prom, Going Platinum, and Getting A New Puppy," 20 June 2018 Solis also makes Quixote’s search for lost love Dulcinea (Sarita Ocón) a moving, melancholy coda. Marcus Crowder, SFChronicle.com, "Former ‘Sesame Street’ star makes Cal Shakes’ ‘Quixote Nuevo’ an instant classic," 18 June 2018 And the voice of Carol McArthur singing melancholy songs reverberated through the church. Alejandra Reyes-velarde, latimes.com, "The Unitarian Universalist Church in La Crescenta opens a monthly ‘hootenanny,’ the Verdugo HUUT," 23 May 2018 Guessing most of youse won’t like it, but The Morning Man is forever a sucker for melancholy ballads, pulled effortlessly from about 1964. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Where do you stand on the Cincinnati Reds rebuild?," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'melancholy.' 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 melancholy

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for melancholy

Noun

Middle English malencolie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek, from melan- + cholē bile — more at gall

Adjective

see melancholy entry 1

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for melancholy

The first known use of melancholy was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for melancholy

melancholy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of melancholy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sad mood or feeling

melancholy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of melancholy (Entry 2 of 2)

: feeling or showing sadness : very unhappy

melancholy

adjective
mel·an·choly | \ˈme-lən-ˌkä-lē \

Kids Definition of melancholy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: sad sense 1 I'll be melancholy if you go.

melancholy

noun

Kids Definition of melancholy (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sad or gloomy mood

melancholy

noun
mel·an·choly | \ˈmel-ən-ˌkäl-ē \
plural melancholies

Medical Definition of melancholy 

1a : an abnormal state attributed to an excess of black bile and characterized by irascibility or depression

b : black bile

c : melancholia

2 : depression or dejection of spirits

Other Words from melancholy

melancholy adjective

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Comments on melancholy

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