The Word Moody Originally Had A Much Different Meaning

Moodiness hasn't always been a bad thing. In fact, several hundred years ago, the word moody used to mean something entirely different in the English language. But even in the past few decades, scientists have been rethinking our gloomier emotions. A 2011 study by the University of British Canada published in the American Psychological Association's journal "Emotion" does just that. The study found that women find moody, sullen men more attractive than smiling ones, according to Science Daily. However, the study didn't examine whether men or non-binary people also found glowering masculinity attractive.

The way we understand it today, moodiness means ever-changing emotions that swing toward gloominess, according to Lexico. Merriam Webster adds that moody means temperamental or subject to depression. But moodiness also has another, more romantic side. Music or a picture can be moody by being mysterious or embodying a sense of sadness, explains Cambridge Dictionary. A sense of melancholy can cause moody atmospheres (via Lexico). In this way, it's easy to see how moodiness can come with an air of allure and mysteriousness.

Moody's bold origins

The word moody had a surprising start, originally meaning something seemingly utterly different from how we use it today. Though it's difficult to see the connection on the surface, the word moody originally signified bravery. The word moody arose from the Old English word modig, which meant brave at the time, explains Listverse.

However, the braveness that the word modig described had undertones of rashness in its definition says Online Etymology Dictionary. Modig's inclusion of impetuousness and arrogance in its meaning makes the threads between the two definitions a little clearer (via Online Etymology Dictionary). It's easy to see how modig could be related to the sudden bouts of gloominess and sullenness now associated with the word moody.

According to House of Names, moody or modig was an Anglo-Saxon family name, also meaning brave or reckless. Moody first appeared as a recorded last name in Devon, England, in the 12th century. The definition changed at the end of the 16th century, says Listverse. However, the reasons behind the change of the word's meaning remain obscure.

Common causes of moodiness

While moodiness has brave origins, bad moods can still wreak havoc on our lives. Identifying the cause of a bad mood can help to cure moodiness or at least improve a bad mood. According to Bustle, moodiness can stem from many factors. Sometimes too much of things many find enjoyable, such as alone time, social media, and booze — a depressant — can produce low moods. Similarly, not enough of some things can also cause irritability and sadness. For example, not enough sunlight, socialization, water, food, or sleep can bring on moody emotions, says Self.

Also, significant life changes, even positive ones, can dip moods. "It's counterintuitive because most people would assume you would be over the moon and thrilled," explains Dr. Anjhula Mya Singh Bais in Bustle. "Though that may be the case, quite often people get into a funk simultaneously because fear and anxiety surface and grow in relation to maintenance or loss of new acquisition, or even the idea of how to top in the future this recent feather in the cap."

Katherine Glick, a Talkspace therapist, explains that spending time around negative people can also bring down your mood. She suggests, "Minimize contact with people who stress you out and just be with people you enjoy being around" (via Self). Perhaps a way to honor the word moody's brave history is to take bold and brash steps toward tending to our own well-being.