1580s, probably from gloom (n.) even though that word is not attested as early as this one. Shakespeare used it of woods, Marlowe of persons. Gloomy Gus has been used in a general sense of "sullen person" since 1902, the name of a pessimistic and defeatist newspaper comics character introduced about that time by U.S. illustrator Frederick Burr Opper. Related: Gloomily; gloominess.
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