Word of the Week Wednesday: melancholy


This Wednesday’s Word of the week is: melancholy.

Melancholy comes from the theory of the four humors.  The humors were bodily fluids that were thought to cause or influence emotions.  The humors were: blood, phlegm, yellow bile (chole in Greek) and black bile (melan chole in Greek).

An excess of black bile (melan chole) was thought to be the cause of sadness.

Being a long-time fan of “mope rock”, I’ve always found the concept of melancholy appealing (see maudlin).

I won’t rehash here what I love about the eloquence of sorrow but will instead discuss the unique qualities I enjoy about this word.

I find the word origin fascinating, obviously.  But I also find the pronunciation particularly euphonious.  I’m not sure I can go much deeper into the theory of euphony than that, since I suspect it’s largely subjective.  But the word has always had a romantic feeling to me.

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About Dan Kingsepp, ACS, ALS
I'm starting this blog to share my thought on the use of the English language and my experiences as a Toastmaster.

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