late 14c., "containing black bile," a physiological sense now obsolete, from melancholy + -ic, or else from from Late Latin melancholicus, from Greek melankholikos "choleric," from melankholia "sadness," literally "(excess of) black bile" (see melancholy). Of persons or temperaments, "affected with melancholia, habitually gloomy," by 1789. The earlier adjective formation in Middle English was melancholian (mid-14c.), and melancholiac (mid-19c.) also was tried.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to remember."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit smarati "remembers;" Avestan mimara "mindful;" Greek merimna "care, thought," mermeros "causing anxiety, mischievous, baneful;" Latin memoria "memory, remembrance, faculty of remembering," memor "mindful, remembering;" Serbo-Croatian mariti "to care for;" Welsh marth "sadness, anxiety;" Old Norse Mimir, name of the giant who guards the Well of Wisdom; Old English gemimor "known," murnan "to mourn, remember sorrowfully;" Dutch mijmeren "to ponder."
1878, geestring, "loincloth worn by an American Indian," originally the string that holds it up, etymology unknown. The spelling with G (1882) is perhaps from influence of violin string tuned to a G (in this sense G string is first recorded 1831), the lowest and heaviest of the violin strings. First used of women's attire 1936, with reference to strip-teasers.
I AM the spirit of the silver "G":
I am silvered sadness,
I am moonlit gladness,
I am that fine madness
Of reverence half, and half of ecstasy
[from "Spirit of the 'G' String," Alfred L. Donaldson, in "Songs of My Violin," 1901]
late 14c., disporten, "to divert (from sadness or ennui), cheer, amuse gaily," from Anglo-French disporter "divert, amuse," Old French desporter "to seek amusement," literally "carry away" (the mind from serious matters), from des- "away" (see dis-) + porter "to carry," from Latin portare "to carry" (from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over").
Compare disporter "a minstrel or jester" (early 15c.), also Latin deportare "to carry away, transport," in Medieval Latin also "divert, amuse." For a similar sense evolution, compare distract, divert, transport (v.). Intransitive sense of "to play, sport" is from late 14c.
mid-13c., "hostile attitude, ill will, surliness" (also "distress, suffering; anguish, agony," a sense now obsolete), from Old Norse angr "distress, grief, sorrow, affliction," from Proto-Germanic *angaz (from PIE root *angh- "tight, painfully constricted, painful"). Cognate with German Angst. Sense of "rage, wrath" is early 14c.
From the sense of oppression, or injury, the expression was transferred to the feelings of resentment naturally aroused in the mind of the person aggrieved. In the same way, the word harm signifies injury, damage in English, and resentment, anger, vexation in Swedish.
The idea of injury is very often expressed by the image of pressure, as in the word oppress, or the Fr. grever, to bear heavy on one. [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859 ]
Old Norse also had angr-gapi "rash, foolish person;" angr-lauss "free from care;" angr-lyndi "sadness, low spirits."
c. 1400 as a term in astronomy, "angular distance of a star below the horizon," from Old French depression (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin depressionem (nominative depressio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin deprimere "to press down, depress" (see depress).
The literal sense "act of pressing down, state of being pressed down" is attested from 1650s. The meaning "dejection, state of sadness, a sinking of the spirits" is from early 15c. (as a clinical term in psychology, from 1905); meteorological sense is from 1881 (in reference to barometric pressure); meaning "a lowering or reduction in economic activity" was in use by 1826; given a specific application (with capital D-) by 1934 to the one that began worldwide in 1929. For "melancholy, depression" an Old English word was grevoushede.
A melancholy leading to desperation, and known to theologians under the name of 'acedia,' was not uncommon in monasteries, and most of the recorded instances of medieval suicides in Catholicism were by monks. [Lecky, "History of European Morals"]
1650s, "melancholy," from French chagrin "melancholy, anxiety, vexation" (14c.), from Old North French chagreiner or Angevin dialect chagraigner "sadden," which is of unknown origin, perhaps [Gamillscheg] from Old French graignier "grieve over, be angry," from graigne "sadness, resentment, grief, vexation," from graim "sorrowful," which is perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Old High German gram "angry, fierce").
But OED and other sources trace it to an identical Old French word, borrowed into English phonetically as shagreen, meaning "rough skin or hide" (the connecting notion being "roughness, harshness"), which is itself of uncertain origin. Modern sense of "feeling of irritation from disappointment, mortification or mental pain from the failure of aims or plans" is from 1716.
The town of Chagrin Falls in northeastern Ohio, U.S., was founded 1837 and named for the nearby falls of the Chagrin River. The source of the river name is uncertain; it might be a corruption of Seguin, the name of a Frenchman who is said to have established a trading post nearby in the 1740s.
c. 1300, melancolie, malencolie, "mental disorder characterized by sullenness, gloom, irritability, and propensity to causeless and violent anger," from Old French melancolie "black bile; ill disposition, anger, annoyance" (13c.), from Late Latin melancholia, from Greek melankholia "sadness," literally (excess of) "black bile," from melas (genitive melanos) "black" (see melano-) + khole "bile" (see cholera).
Old medicine attributed mental depression to unnatural or excess "black bile," a secretion of the spleen and one of the body's four "humors," which help form and nourish the body unless altered or present in excessive amounts. The word also was used in Middle English for "sorrow, gloom" (brought on by love, disappointment, etc.), by mid-14c. As belief in the old physiology of humors faded out in the 18c. the word remained with a sense of "a gloomy state of mind," particularly when habitual or prolonged.
The Latin word also is the source of Spanish melancolia, Italian melancolia, German Melancholie, Danish melankoli, etc. Old French variant malencolie (also in Middle English) is by false association with mal "sickness."
When I go musing all alone,
Thinking of divers things fore-known,
When I build castles in the air,
Void of sorrow and void of fear,
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie waking all alone,
Recounting what I have ill done,
My thoughts on me then tyrannise,
Fear and sorrow me surprise,
Whether I tarry still or go,
Methinks the time moves very slow.
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so sad as melancholy.
[Robert Burton, from "Anatomy of Melancholy," 17c.]
Old English lang "having a great linear extent, that extends considerably from end to end; tall; lasting," from Proto-Germanic *langa- (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon lang, Old High German and German lang, Old Norse langr, Middle Dutch lanc, Dutch lang, Gothic laggs "long").
The Germanic words perhaps are from PIE *dlonghos- (source also of Latin longus "long, extended; further; of long duration; distant, remote," Old Persian darga-, Persian dirang, Sanskrit dirghah "long"), from root *del- (1) "long" (source also of Greek dolikhos "long," endelekhes "perpetual"). Latin longus (source of prolong, elongate, longitude, etc.) thus is probably cognate with, but not the source of, the Germanic words. The word illustrates the Old English tendency for short "a" to become short "o" before -n- (also retained in bond/band and West Midlands dialectal lond from land and hond from hand).
Also in Old English in reference to time, "drawn out in duration," with overtones of "serious." The old sense of "tall" now appears to be dialectal only, or obsolete. For long "during a long time" is from c. 1300. To be long on something, "have a lot" of it, is from 1900, American English slang. A long vowel (c. 1000) originally was pronounced for an extended time. Mathematical long division is from 1808. Sporting long ball is from 1744, originally in cricket. Long jump as a sporting event is attested from 1864. A long face, one drawn downward in expression of sadness or solemnity, is from 1786. Long in the tooth (1841 of persons) is from horses showing age by recession of gums (but not in this sense until 1870). Long knives, name Native Americans gave to white settlers (originally in Virginia/Kentucky) is from 1774, perhaps a reference to their swords. Long time no see, supposedly imitative of American Indian speech, is first recorded 1919 as Chinese English.
"unfounded belief that one is sick," by 1816; a narrowing from the earlier sense "depression or melancholy without real cause" (1660s); from Middle English medical term ipocondrie "lateral regions of the upper abdomen" (late 14c.). This is from Late Latin hypochondria, from Greek hypokhondria (neuter plural of hypokhondrios), from hypo- "under" (see hypo-) + khondros "cartilage" (in this case, of the false ribs); see chondro-.
The sense "morbid melancholy" reflects the ancient belief that the viscera of the hypochondria (liver, gall bladder, spleen) were the seat of melancholy and the source of the vapors that caused such feelings. The attempt to put it on a scientific bases passes through hypochondriasis. Also see hype (n.). The poet Cowper is an oft-cited example in late 18c. literature. The focus of sense on the particular symptom "unfounded belief that one is sick" seems to begin 1790s with William Cullen, M.D., professor of physic in the University of Edinburgh, who made a specialty of the topic:
A languor, listlessness, or want of resolution and activity, with respect to all undertakings; a disposition to seriousness, sadness, and timidity; as to all future events, an apprehension of the worst or most unhappy state of them; and, therefore, often upon slight grounds an apprehension of great evil. Such persons are particularly attentive to the state of their own health, to every the smallest change of feeling in their bodies; and from any unusual sensation, perhaps of the slightest kind, they apprehend great danger, and even death itself. In respect to these feelings and fears, there is commonly the most obstinate belief and persuasion. [Cullen, "First Lines of the Practice of Physic," Edinburgh, 1791]
Though to Cullen the clinical definition of hypochondria also included physical symptoms and pains as well as these mental delusions. As the old medical beliefs faded, the word dropped from clinical use but remained in popular use for "groundless morbid fear for one's health." In the 1830s hypochondria could mean merely "morbid melancholy," also "apprehension of evil respecting health, without sufficient cause," and "upper abdomen."