comes from Latin adustus
, the past participle of adūrere
("to set fire to"), a verb formed from the Latin prefix ad-
and the verb ūrere
("to burn"). It entered the English language in the early 15th century as a medical term related to the four bodily humors—black bile
, blood, phlegm
, and yellow bile
—which were believed at the time to determine a person's health and temperament. Adust
was used to describe a condition of the humors in which
became heated or combusted. Adust black bile in particular was believed
to be a source of melancholy. The association with melancholy gave rise
to a sense of adust
meaning "of a gloomy appearance or disposition," but that sense is now considered archaic.
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