1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Melancholy

MELANCHOLY (Gr. μελαγχολία, from μέλας, black, and χολή, bile), originally a condition of the mind or body due to a supposed excess of black bile, also this black bile itself, one of the chief “humours” of the body, which were, according to medieval physiology, blood, phlegm, choler and melancholy (see Humour); now a vague term for desponding grief. From the 17th century the name was used of the mental disease now known as “melancholia” (see Insanity), but without any reference to the supposed cause of it.