Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Does Melancholy Mean?


mel·an·chol·y [mel-uhn-kol-ee]

–noun
1. a gloomy state of mind, esp. when habitual or prolonged; depression.
2. sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.
3. Archaic.
a. the condition of having too much black bile, considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression.
b. black bile.

–adjective
4. affected with, characterized by, or showing melancholy; mournful; depressed: a melancholy mood.
5. causing melancholy or sadness; saddening: a melancholy occasion.
6. soberly thoughtful; pensive.

The word melancholy is used both as a noun and adjective and you can use the word for a very deep feeling of sadness. Usually the word is used for a kind of sadness the reason of which is hard to explain and the feeling also lasts a long time. As an adjective the word can describe anything that makes you feel sad and you can use the terms melancholy thoughts and melencholy memories to describe sad thoughts and memories respectively.

I am not trying to make the impression that I am sad all the time but haunting thoughts from the past do drift across my memories, and some have left a deep impact on me. I am sure there are others out there that have the same thing happen to them. Even the word melancholy is sad sounding.

I think we regret things we have done and would like to relive them, perhaps we also would change some things. I think I mostly regret having to make the decision to have my pets put to sleep, it makes me feel like an executioner, I really hate that feeling. Perhaps this crappy weather we are having has made me feel melancholy.

I would like to hear what my friends think about this word, we have all experienced this feeling. I don't think melancholy is the same as depression, once I read about depression. The book said if you can resound from your feelings and not dwell on them, then you are not sick with a long term depression. I hope I remembered it right, it was something like that. I know one thing that keeps me happy is visiting all you friends.

20 comments:

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

What a thought provoking subject,at the moment I am experiencing great sadness.......hopefully one reason will be sorted out next week, the other is not so simple. I suspect most of us do go through stages of sadness in their lives at some point, but the secret is not to dwell on it.
Easier said than done I know.
Thanks for an interesting post.
Have fun and take care
Yvonne.

Judy said...

I have been melancholy before but I don't think it lasts long with me. It seems since I retired I stay so busy I don't have time to think about myself! My mother always told me that life is what you make it and you can either enjoy it or not. Most of the time I choose to enjoy it but there are things in the past that make me sad when I think about them. Great post!

Linda said...

Margaret,
I think it's wonderful that you've written about this subject as I LOVE this word and in contrast to so many others I've come across, I LOVE this feeling.

For me, it's largely a part of who I am on a daily basis and if it weren't for this, I don't believe I would be the kind of writer I hope to be.

Personally, it's not a state of depression, but rather an appreciation for all of life - past, present and future. Though, you've read my blog long enough now to know that the past indeed holds a strong attachment for me, because of its historical meaning on my life and those I love.

Melancholy is also how I would describe one of the great prophets of scripture - Jeremiah, described as the Weeping Prophet who often talked more about sorrows than joys. To me, that's the way of many great thinkers, artists, and writers.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I love this post, Margaret....! It says so much and I love the word melancholy...It descibes these deep feelings that touch each of our lives. I so agree with what Linda said....These feelings are important for so very many reasons---Not the least of which is it brings great validity to an intangible.
It is certainly in my daily life--not every minute, but these feelings come up more and more, the older that I get and the more in touch with my feelings that I am. This is a GOOD thing, because it also means that the opposite feelings of pleasure and joy and fun, are equally as stromg---at least, that is true for me. Allowing oneself to be melancholy is a really important thing, I am revisiting the past a lot and have for most of my life....Doing that has helped me live more in the present, and it truly has helped me to appreciate all the joy in my life!

A.Marie said...

Oh my goodness..I totally agree with you; Sometimes, I get really melancholy when I think about my beloved past pets that I have had to put to sleep. That makes me sad, also, even though I know I am doing the right thing by not letting them suffer. Or, if the weather is gloomy for a few days, then I notice that my mood is definitely more melancholy. Then, the sun comes out, and I am happy once more.

You have such interesting things to say on your blog; I am sort of having a writer's block lately...I think it is because I am so busy with my teen son who is in Marching Band right now. When I am too busy, then my blogging slows way down!

Have a great evening! :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Margaret:)

I agree with you. The word Melancholy itself makes one feel sad. It is true that as we grow older we dwell more on the past and regret things we did or did not do. But then that is life. We don't get a second chance. There is a beauty to it. What we did in the past is only a memory. We get a fresh chance each day to do things better. So we have to live in the present and take each day as it comes and do what gives us satisfaction and happiness instead of wallowing in self pity and negative thoughts.

Of course this is easier said than done. We always go back to the past both for good memories and bad memories. Perhaps the best thing to do is to think of the best things that we did and draw satisfaction from it. After all no one is perfect. Even the most revered people have done many mistakes in the past. We are all humans. We don't get a second chance.

As regards putting your pet to sleep, I agree it is a difficult decision to take. But take the case of a judge. Sometimes he has to send a criminal to the gallows. What the judge must be feeling!

Very interesting post. We all have that overwhelming sadness coming over us at some time or the other and we are flooded with melancholy. Can't help it I suppose:)

Have a bright and beautiful day Margaret:)
Joseph

Babli said...

Very nice and informative post. I like this word Melancholy and good to know about it in detail.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

This condition comes and goes. I get that way sometimes when I think about the old times and how we used to live during world war two. Those were times that stressed our souls but mom and me made it by living in what we had and eating what we grew. Not the same these days. It is a gimme world with more emphasis on credit (see where that got us) and want-a-now.

My mentor, Ray DaBoll got to shaking so bad he had to switch from fountain pens to ballpoints and stuffed his necktie in his mouth to keep from drooling on the paper he was writing on.

Thanks for helping me to make history.
Pick a Peck of Pixels

Renie Burghardt said...

I think we all experience melancholy feelings at times. But if that feeling lasts too long, it leads to depression. When I'm feeling melancholy, I seek out happy friends, who help dispense those feelings. And I pray. And I think of my favorite quote:

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small
ones. When you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
God is awake."
--Victor Hugo

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Margaret!

Patty said...

When the kids were all still living at home and going to school, I always got melancholy on Sunday evenings. I knew the next day was Monday, Abe would be going back to work, kids would be going off to school and that meant I had five people I had to make sure were up, dressed, fed and lunches packed before they went out the door. Then I was all alone. But once I got myself in gear, I managed to get a lot accomplished before they all started arriving back home.

Have you ever been sitting watching out the window about the time all your neighbors start arriving home from work. It's rather amusing. Everyone going down the street, pulling into drive ways, probably thanking God they arrived home safely. Probably wondering what they were going to fix for dinner. Since I was fortunate enough to be a stay at home Mom when our kids were small, I always had supper waiting when husband got home. Our one daughter said that's what she misses more than anything, coming in and smelling dinner being prepared or waiting. She's been living in her own place for some time, she said she goes home, and doesn't smell anything that smells like food until she fixes something herself. But she said it's just not the same as smelling it when coming in the door.

I think Fall is a melancholy time of year. Everything starts dying, turning pretty colors for a short time, then gone, it gets dark earlier and stays dark longer. I like that nice sunshine, makes everyone feel so much better. In fact some days when it's gloomy, I turn on the lights all over ( they are the special ones that look like little coils ) and it gives the house a more cheerful look.

Have a nice evening and day tomorrow. It's grocery shopping day for me.

A New Beginning said...

Margaret your visits wipe away my melancholy, your kind words are really special.Thanks.
We human beings have a tough time taking certain decisions, but time makes us realise that they were for the best..I am sure time has innumerable special days stored for you:)Smile and spread the cheer..it'll wipe off your melancholy and that of others aswell:)
Thanks for being a great blogger friend!!

Joops said...

I used to hate it but I kinda like that word now. I felt melancholy for so long when my mother died..

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misty said...

I think melancholy depends upon on how you would put it, on how you really feel about it...

Have a nice week Ms. Maragaret!

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Margaret Cloud said...

I was so glad to hear all the comments about this word. It is always interesting to hear what my friends think, thanks for coming by and leaving a comment.

caspersmom said...

When I read your post and the comments I had to look up the word in the dictionary. I think most people today think of melancholy more on the benign side of sadness. The dictionary said it was depression, gloominess, sadness and having to much black bile, which made me grin. I think it's mostly a medival word.

Some of the comments are pretty well put and interesting.

Kathleen said...

Hi Margaret, I'm feeling kiind of melancholy myself. After putting Sunny down and returning to gray and dreary Lima, I just feel...well, not sad, but bummed out. I've got the blahs. Hoping for some sunny days soon, to lift my spirit.

Gramma Ann said...

When I first read the title talking about Melancholy, my first thought was of the old song, "Melancholy Baby"

It pretty much gives the meaning of the word melancholy. It went something like this;

"Come to me my melancholy baby, cuddle up and don't be blue. All our fears are foolish fancies maybe, you know dear that I'm in love with you ....... Every cloud must have a silver lining, wait until the sun shines through. Smile my honey dear, as I kiss away each tear, or else I will be melancholy too." I'm sure you remember it well. ; )

Merle said...

Dear Margaret ~~ It sounds a sad word and I guess we often feel that way. Which is OK if we don't stay that way. I loved the Melancholy baby song lyrics from Gramma Ann. Who could stay sad after that. A very interesting post Margaret, as usual.

Thanks for your comments and I agree Company can be tiring as we get older. I hope your weather soon improves for you. It isn't hot here, just sort of in betweenish- about 20C
The heat will come soon enough. It has been hot up north in Queensland this year.
Take great care, my friend and be safe.
Love, Merle.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

I believe that people who are soulful are melancholy by nature. This is not a bad thing, it just means that we are in tune with our lives, our thoughts, our surroundings, and with Nature. (And yes, the weather and lack of sunlight, etc. can make one instantly melancholoy--if not downright depressed. Please dno't deprive me of sunlight, I cannot function.)

YOu have a wonderful soul and shouldn't regret things that can't be changed in the past. Things happen exactly as they're supposed to. It doesn't mean they feel good and it certainly can make us melancholy.

Great, great post.

ancient one said...

Thanks for coming by to see me... I've been melancholy... the tragic death of my granddaughter's father in law in a motorcycle accident last Friday (10/2/2009). He was a minister and I know he's with the Lord in heaven, still it is sad to see his family hurting. The good thing about melancholy is that it doesn't hang around. GOD is good and this too shall pass!

It's been awhile since I'd visited you.. I'm reading backwards..trying to catch up.

Thanks Margaret!

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