in a brown study

in a brown study

In deep contemplative thought. 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

in a brown study

in a reverie; absorbed in your thoughts.
The earliest meaning of brown in English was simply ‘dark’. From this, an extended sense of ‘gloomy or serious’ developed and it is apparently from this sense that we get the phrase in a brown study .
2001 New York Review of Books When he isn't stirring up mischief, or conniving for gold, or composing beautiful poetry, he's apt to be sunk in a brown study.
See also: brown, study