Bilious

woman with abdominal pain

Medical Definition of Bilious

Bilious: The adjective for bile, bilious has three meanings. It means of or relating to bile. By extension, bilious means suffering from liver dysfunction (and especially excessive secretion of bile). And, further by extension, it is indicative of a peevish ill-natured disposition.

The word "bilious" goes back to the old belief that there were four bodily humors (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood) and these four humors determined a person's temperament. "Bilious" was the personality type associated with an excess of yellow bile. The word "bilious" derives from the French "bilieux," which in turn came from "bilis," the Latin term for "bile."


Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Reviewed on 5/13/2016

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors