• synonyms


or phleg·mat·i·cal

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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for phlegmatic

apathetic, blah, cold, cool, deadpan, disinterested, dispassionate, dull, emotionless, flat, frigid, groggy, indifferent, lethargic, lifeless, listless, passive, sluggish, unfeeling, unresponsive

Examples from the Web for phlegmatic

Contemporary Examples of phlegmatic

Historical Examples of phlegmatic

British Dictionary definitions for phlegmatic



  1. having a stolid or unemotional disposition
  2. not easily excited
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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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phlegmatic in Medicine


  1. Of or relating to phlegm.
  2. Having or suggesting a calm, sluggish temperament; unemotional.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.