or phleg·mat·i·cal

[fleg-mat-ik or fleg-mat-i-kuhl]


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 formsphleg·mat·i·cal·ly, adverbphleg·mat·i·cal·ness, phleg·mat·ic·ness, nounun·phleg·mat·ic, adjectiveun·phleg·mat·i·cal, adjectiveun·phleg·mat·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for phlegmatic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phlegmatic

Contemporary Examples of phlegmatic

  • Phlegmatic though he might have been, Levine had a wonderfully dry, self-deprecating sense of humor.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Man With the Sharpest Pen

    David Margolick

    December 30, 2009

Historical Examples of phlegmatic

British Dictionary definitions for phlegmatic




having a stolid or unemotional disposition
not easily excited
Derived Formsphlegmatically, adverbphlegmaticalness or 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

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

Medicine definitions for phlegmatic




Of or relating to phlegm.
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.