Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

phlegm

play
noun \ˈflem\

Simple Definition of phlegm

  • : a thick, yellowish liquid that is produced in the nose and throat especially when a person has a cold

  • : calmness in a difficult or unpleasant situation

Full Definition of phlegm

  1. 1 :  the one of the four humors in early physiology that was considered to be cold and moist and to cause sluggishness

  2. 2 :  viscid mucus secreted in abnormal quantity in the respiratory passages

  3. 3 a :  dull or apathetic coldness or indifference b :  intrepid coolness or calm fortitude

phlegmy play \ˈfle-mē\ adjective

Examples of phlegm

  1. He displayed remarkable phlegm in very dangerous conditions.

  2. <a man of remarkable phlegm, never showing enthusiasm nor displeasure>



Origin of phlegm

Middle English fleume, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin phlegmat-, phlegma, from Greek, flame, inflammation, phlegm, from phlegein to burn — more at black


First Known Use: 13th century

Other Physiology Terms

Rhymes with phlegm


Medical Dictionary

phlegm

play
noun \ˈflem\

Medical Definition of phlegm

  1. 1:  the one of the four humors of ancient and medieval physiology that was believed to be cold and moist and to cause sluggishness

  2. 2:  viscid mucus secreted in abnormal quantity in the respiratory passages





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up phlegm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet kittly-benders spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ