Black Mood – Meaning, Origin and Usage

The phrase 'black mood' is a common saying in the English language that can sometimes confuse people who hear it for the first time. Have you seen the phrase 'black mood' somewhere and would like to know more about the meaning and context of the saying? This post unpacks the meaning and origin of 'black mood' and where it comes from.


The expression 'black mood' is a common type of figurative saying in the English language, which is usually said to mean that someone's mood is dark or foul.

The phrase is often used to indicate that someone is experiencing (or has experienced) an unfortunate emotion like anger, depression, or mourning.

The saying can be used as a reference to someone in conversation, but it might also be used to refer to someone as a third-party, or as a self-reference.

While the saying has negative implications, it is not used as an insult, but usually said as a statement or as in response to something.

There is no direct opposite to 'black mood', and someone cannot be in a 'white mood' as an opposite.

While it is rarer use of the phrase, someone can use the saying 'not in a black mood' in the denial form of the term, to say that the opposite meaning is true – or that someone is in a good mood instead.

Example Usage

“I went to the old man's house that Saturday, and I have to tell you that he was in a really black mood for the whole day. It must have been the fact that he shot his wife on Friday.”

“You're in a real black mood today, son. What's the matter?”

“I was in a black mood for the whole of yesterday because someone put pineapple on our pizza order. I mean, what kind of crazy motherfucker does that?”

“If you're in a black mood already, maybe you shouldn't listen to so many black metal bands that sing about cannibals and corpses.”


The origin and first use of the phrase 'black mood' is difficult to track down according to most online etymology resources.

The phrase 'black mood' could have originated with comparisons to things that were dark and overcast, or it could have originated from the idea of duality – that light is good, and that dark is ominous.

The common concept of light-versus-dark was already in common use in the English language throughout the 1600s, and it can be guessed that the phrase 'black mood' could have originated from more or less the same time period.

The phrase was in common use by the 1700s, and use of the saying would continue well into the 21st century with its meaning unchanged.

Phrases Similar to Black Mood

  • Dark mood

Phrases Opposite to Black Mood

  • Good mood

What is the Correct Saying?

  • [someone is in] a black mood

Ways People May Say Black Mood Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can use the phrase 'black mood' in the wrong way, or misunderstand the meaning of the phrase when it is said.

The phrase does not always translate well as a direct saying into languages other than English, and this can lead to confusion when the saying is translated where there is no exact equivalent.

A speaker would not use the plural form of the term to indicate 'black moods', even when the speaker means several people.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Black Mood

The correct way to use the phrase 'black mood' is to use it in reference to someone who is experiencing negative emotions, like depression, sadness or anger.

The phrase 'black mood' uses the figurative, negative associations of darkness to give meaning to the saying.

It can be said that '[someone is in] a black mood', or the phrase can be used in the denial form to indicate that someone is not feeling this way.

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