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Bilious Billy not only had terribly bad breath and body odor, but also possessed a rather unpleasant personality. Many co-workers had attempted to tell Billy politely about this bilious and disgusting physical problem, but he would not listen since he was so irritable. As a result of his bilious, unhealthy presence and his disagreeable behavior, he soon lost the few friends he did have.

Quiz: What could make you bilious?

  • Your back constantly hurts, you can’t sleep, and you’re way behind in your work.
  • You just saw a car in the shape of a large banana drive down your street.
  • You bought a good book and just realized that you can start reading it that evening.

Memory Hook

Billy Club! When the bilious policeman took out his billy club, we weren't going to wait around to see his temper really flare into bullying us!


  • That is why New York hockey so needs a bilious rivalry between the Rangers, who have not won a pro title since 1940, and the Islanders, who are slipping after winning four cups in their first 18 years. Hate sustains interest. —The New York Times
  • Leave it to the Washington political industry to turn voter alienation into new business. In the current bilious atmosphere, it's no longer enough merely to be a challenger. —Newsweek

Word Ingredients

bil bile, yellowish fluid secreted by the liver
-ious of the nature of

Medieval medicine taught that the body possessed four fluids or humors: black bile, yellow bile (choler), blood, and phlegm; the relative concentrations of these four humors, different for each person, determined mood, health, and general disposition. An excess of choler, or “yellow bile,” made one angry or irritable.

Word Constellation