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or phlegmatical

[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.
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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These girls, who are generally so phlegmatic, change their character on cleaning day and become frantic.

    Holland, v. 1 (of 2) Edmondo de Amicis
  • They were a phlegmatic race, placid, unimaginative, reposeful.

  • Men, the most phlegmatic, met and embraced each other with tears.

  • The constables were fat, phlegmatic, and anything but heroic.

    The Hunted Outlaw Anonymous
  • Wolfgang answered for the other, and his phlegmatic face had lost its ordinary expression for one of keen delight.

    Jessica, the Heiress Evelyn Raymond
  • Then we beheld a spectacle calculated to thrill the most phlegmatic fisherman.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • He has enthusiasm; and believe me, who am a phlegmatic person enough, that is the most precious quality in our times.

    Rudin Ivan Turgenev
  • Within a few hours, their phlegmatic blandness had begun to pass.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • The four complexions are the four temperaments—the choleric, the sanguine, the phlegmatic, and the melancholy.

    Jacob Behmen Alexander Whyte
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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