- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for phlegmatic
Phlegmatic though he might have been, Levine had a wonderfully dry, self-deprecating sense of humor.The Man With the Sharpest Pen
December 30, 2009
They were a phlegmatic race, placid, unimaginative, reposeful.The Conquest of Fear
The constables were fat, phlegmatic, and anything but heroic.The Hunted Outlaw
He was a phlegmatic, heavy Dutchman, and seemed decent enough.
This phlegmatic animal had been enjoying himself for the last half hour.Fair Harbor
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
Then we beheld a spectacle calculated to thrill the most phlegmatic fisherman.Tales of Fishes
- having a stolid or unemotional disposition
- not easily excited
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]
- Of or relating to phlegm.
- Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional.