late 14c., "bile, melancholy" (originally the same as choler), from French cholera or directly from Late Latin cholera, from Greek kholera "a type of disease characterized by diarrhea, supposedly caused by bile" (Celsus), from khole "gall, bile," so called for its color, related to khloazein "to be green," khlōros "pale green, greenish-yellow," from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives denoting "green, yellow," and thus "bile, gall." But another sense of khole was "drainpipe, gutter."
Revived 1560s in classical sense as a name for a severe digestive disorder (rarely fatal to adults); and 1704 (especially as cholera morbus), for a highly lethal disease endemic in India, periodically breaking out in global epidemics, especially that reaching Britain and America in the early 1830s.
updated on December 09, 2020
Dictionary entries near cholera