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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English fleumatik, flewmatik, flematik, fleumatyke, flewmatyk, from Old French fleumatique, from Latin phlegmaticus, from Ancient Greek φλεγματικός (phlegmatikós), from φλέγμα (phlégma). Spelling later altered to resemble the word's Latin and Greek roots, with modern pronunciation following this new spelling.


  • IPA(key): /flɛɡˈmætɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ætɪk


phlegmatic (comparative more phlegmatic, superlative most phlegmatic)

  1. Not easily excited to action or passion; calm; sluggish.
    • 1873, Jules Verne, chapter 2, in Around the World in 80 Days[1], archived from the original on 12 April 2012:
      Calm and phlegmatic, with a clear eye, Mr. Fogg seemed a perfect type of that English composure which Angelica Kauffmann has so skilfully represented on canvas.
    • 2013, A.O. Scott, “How It Looks to Think: Watch Her,” Rev. of Hannah Arendt, dir. by Margarethe von Trotta, New York Times 29 May 2013: C1. Print.
      Their friendship (immortalized in a splendid volume of letters that has clearly served as one of Ms. von Trotta's sources) is a fascinating study in cultural and temperamental contrast, an impulsive and witty American paired with a steady, phlegmatic German.
  2. Generating, causing, or full of phlegm.
    phlegmatic humors
    a phlegmatic constitution


Coordinate terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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phlegmatic (plural phlegmatics)

  1. One who has a phlegmatic disposition.