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[fleg-mat-ik] /flɛgˈmæt ɪk/
not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish.
self-possessed, calm, or composed.
of the nature of or abounding in the humor phlegm.
Also, phlegmatical.
Origin of phlegmatic
1300-50; < Late Latin phlegmaticus < Greek phlegmatikós pertaining to phlegm, equivalent to phlegmat- (stem of phlégma phlegm) + -ikos -ic; replacing Middle English fleumatik < Middle French fleumatique < Late Latin, as above
Related forms
phlegmatically, adverb
phlegmaticalness, phlegmaticness, noun
unphlegmatic, adjective
unphlegmatical, adjective
unphlegmatically, adverb
1. stoical, cool, cold, uninterested, dull, torpid. 2. cool, collected, unruffled, placid, quiet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for phlegmatic
  • In fact, his writing is nearly as phlegmatic as the methodical, unrattled Rhodes.
  • He was calm, almost phlegmatic in conversation, but the minute he walked on a platform he was transformed.
  • We are said to be the most phlegmatic and unemotional of peoples.
  • Corpulence makes a man reasonable, pleasant and phlegmatic.
  • But in some sense, a kind of man -- wishy-washy and phlegmatic -- has gone out of style.
  • Thompson instead brought a phlegmatic style to the campaign trail, and his candidacy never took off.
  • Title refers to the four humors of medieval medicine — melancholy, sanguine phlegmatic and choleric.
  • Reflecting Brussels residents' phlegmatic side, neither he nor the building's other tenants plan to move out.
  • Ballard moment, a number of phlegmatic locals showed up to fish the soccer field.
  • Our impressions of phlegmatic pace were reinforced, upon arriving, when no one seemed to be in any rush to greet us.
British Dictionary definitions for phlegmatic


having a stolid or unemotional disposition
not easily excited
Derived Forms
phlegmatically, adverb
phlegmaticalness, phlegmaticness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for phlegmatic

"cool, calm, self-possessed," and in a more pejorative sense, "cold, dull, apathetic," 1570s, from literal sense "abounding in phlegm (as a bodily humor)" (mid-14c., fleumatik), from Old French fleumatique (13c., Modern French flegmatique), from Late Latin phlegmaticus, from Greek phlegmatikos "abounding in phlegm" (see phlegm).

A verry flewmatike man is in the body lustles, heuy and slow. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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phlegmatic in Medicine

phlegmatic phleg·mat·ic (flěg-māt'ĭk) or phleg·mat·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)

  1. Of or relating to phlegm.

  2. Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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