the thick mucus secreted in the respiratory passages and discharged through the mouth, especially that occurring in the lungs and throat passages, as during a cold.
one of the four elemental bodily humors of medieval physiology, regarded as causing sluggishness or apathy.
sluggishness, indifference, or apathy.
self-possession, calmness, or composure.

1350–1400; Middle English fleem < Middle French flemme < Late Latin phlegma < Greek phlégma flame, phlegmatic humor, equivalent to phlég(ein) to burn + -ma resultative noun suffix

phlegmless, adjective

3. impassivity.

3. animation, concern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
phlegm (flɛm)
1.  the viscid mucus secreted by the walls of the respiratory tract
2.  archaic one of the four bodily humours
3.  apathy; stolidity; indifference
4.  self-possession; imperturbability; coolness
[C14: from Old French fleume, from Late Latin phlegma, from Greek: inflammation, from phlegein to burn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., fleem "viscid mucus" (the stuff itself and also regarded as a bodily humor), from O.Fr. fleume (13c., Fr. flegme), from L.L. phlegma, from Gk. phlegma "inflammation, heat, humor caused by heat," from phlegein "to burn," related to phlox (gen. phlogos) "flame, blaze," from PIE *bhleg- "to
shine, flash," from base *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach). Modern form is attested from c.1660. The "cold, moist" humor of the body, in medieval physiology, it was believed to cause apathy.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

phlegm (flěm)

  1. Thick, sticky, stringy mucus secreted by the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, as during a cold or other respiratory infection.

  2. One of the four humors of ancient and medieval physiology, thought to cause sluggishness, apathy, and evenness of temper.

phlegm'y adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
phlegm   (flěm)  Pronunciation Key 
Thick mucus produced by the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, as during a cold or other respiratory infection.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Snake bile is used to clear up your phlegm and stomach, and to promote joint
Now he was feverish, coughing up phlegm and having difficulty speaking.
Iodide was given to make phlegm less sticky, but many were allergic to it.
Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.
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