Etymology
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synapse (n.)

"junction between two nerve cells," 1899, medical Latin, from Greek synapsis "conjunction," from or related to synaptein "to clasp, join together, tie or bind together, be connected with," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + haptein "to fasten" (see apse). Introduced by English physiologist Charles Sherrington (1857-1952), summarizing recent work by other neurologists, in the 1897 revision of Sir Michael Foster's "Textbook of Physiology;" the form of the coinage is owing to the suggestion of English classical scholar Arthur Woollgar Verral (1851-1912).

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phlegm (n.)

late 14c., fleem, fleume, "viscid mucus, discharge from a mucous membrane of the body," also the name of one of the four bodily humors, from Old French fleume (13c., Modern French flegme), from Late Latin phlegma, one of the four humors of the body, from Greek phlegma "morbid, clammy bodily humor caused by heat;" literally "inflammation, flame, fire, heat," from phlegein "to burn," related to phlox (genitive phlogos) "flame, blaze," from PIE *bhleg- "to shine, flash," from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn."

The modern form of the word is attested by c. 1660. In old physiology it was the "cold, moist" humor of the body and a predominance of it was believed to cause dullness, lethargy, and apathy, hence phlegmatic.

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clerisy (n.)

1818, on model of German clerisei, from Late Latin clericia, related to clericus (see cleric); apparently coined by Coleridge, who used it to mean "the learned men of a nation, its poets, philosophers, and scholars," "to express a notion no longer associated with CLERGY" [OED]. But since the 1840s it has since sometimes been used in the sense "the clergy," as distinguished from the laity.

The clerisy of the nation (a far apter exponent of the thing meant, than the term which the usus et norma loquendi forces on me), the clerisy, I say, or national church, in its primary acceptation and original intention comprehended the learned of all denominations;—the sages and professors of law and jurisprudence; of medicine and physiology; of music; of military and civil architec[t]ure; of the physical sciences; with the mathematical as the common organ of the preceding; in short, all the so called liberal arts and sciences, the possession and application of which constitute the civilization of a country, as well as the Theological. [Coleridge, "On the Constitution of the Church and State," 1830]
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complexion (n.)

mid-14c., complexioun, "temperament, natural disposition of body or mind," from Old French complexion, complession "combination of humors," hence "temperament, character, make-up," from Latin complexionem (nominative complexio) "combination" (in Late Latin, "physical constitution"), from complexus "surrounding, encompassing," past participle of complecti "to encircle, embrace," in transferred use, "to hold fast, master, comprehend," from com "with, together" (see com-) + plectere "to weave, braid, twine, entwine," from PIE *plek-to-, suffixed form of root *plek- "to plait."

The Middle English sense is from the old medicine notion of bodily constitution or general nature resulting from blending of the four primary qualities (hot, cold, dry, moist) or humors (blood, phlegm, choler, black choler). The specific meaning "color or hue of the skin of the face" developed by mid-15c. In medieval physiology, the color of the face was believed to indicate temperament or health. The word rarely is used in the sense of "state of being complex."

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melancholy (n.)

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.]
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