Word of the Day Archive
Sunday May 23, 2010
1. Not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish.
2. Self-possessed, calm, or composed.
3. Of the nature of or abounding in the humor phlegm.
"They have no business no money blablablabla," he typed to me one afternoon, feigning phlegmatic unconcern with the financial woes of an advertiser he'd been negotiating with-his only one. Like much of his generation, Ternovskiy has an online persona far more developed than his real one.
-- Julie Ioffe, "Roulette Russian" New Yorker
It is true, as we perceive, that phlegmatic subjects are less liable to the itch than those of a bilious temperament, because this people sympathizes with the climate it inhabits and is more sluggish in a cold body than another which is heated by the temperature of its region, ferments, moves about and cannot remain in place.
-- Cyrano de Bergerac, Richard Aldington, Voyages to the Moon and the Sun
Phlegmatic finds its origin in medical theories of the humors, the phlegmatic temperment. The Greek root phlegmatikós, "pertaining to phlegm," is the source.