brown study, in a

Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

in a brown study

A state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association. Meredith sat at her desk in a brown study, carefully planning how to word her thesis proposal. The would-be poet can often be found in the local café, sequestered in the same corner armchair in a brown study.
See also: brown, study

brown study, in a

Daydreaming or deeply contemplative, as in Margaret sits in the library, in a brown study. This term dates from the late 1500s, and although by then in a study had long meant "lost in thought," the reason for adding brown is unclear. Moreover, the present idiom also is ambiguous, some holding that it denotes genuine thoughtfulness and others that it signifies absentmindedness.
See also: brown