phlegm

noun
\ ˈflem How to pronounce phlegm (audio) \

Definition of phlegm

1 : the one of the four humors in early physiology that was considered to be cold and moist and to cause sluggishness
2 : viscid mucus secreted in abnormal quantity in the respiratory passages
3a : dull or apathetic coldness or indifference
b : intrepid coolness or calm fortitude

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from phlegm

phlegmy \ ˈfle-​mē How to pronounce phlegmy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of phlegm in a Sentence

He displayed remarkable phlegm in very dangerous conditions. a man of remarkable phlegm, never showing enthusiasm nor displeasure

Recent Examples on the Web

Galen, the Greco-Roman physician of the second century, argued that all human pathology could be conceptualized as imbalances of humors—black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019 Step 2: Sweet tea ferments in tanks with 2,000 gallons of symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, known as SCOBY, which looks like a giant phlegm Frisbee. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How To Make Gasoline From Tea," 15 May 2019 Other symptoms of congestive heart failure include a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink phlegm, an increased need to pee at night, difficulty concentrating, and chest pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "13 Surprising Medical Conditions That Can Cause Weight Gain or Loss (and When to Go to the Doctor)," 12 Nov. 2018 Signs and symptoms that may indicate a serious cause of chest pain: Association with fever, or cough plus green or yellow phlegm. Coughing up blood. Philly.com, "Medical mystery: An unexpected - and ironic - cause of chest pain," 24 June 2018 Toby, Council's Australian shepherd, recently started coughing up blood and phlegm, Council said. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Controversy in the air as Mesa homeowners decry neighboring asphalt plant’s odors," 11 July 2018 Image Chazz Palminteri had phlegm in his throat on a recent Friday. New York Times, "Chazz Palminteri Is Singing. Sonny Would Tell You to Listen.," 25 May 2018 Avgolemono at North Beach Gyro: Lemon supposedly reduces phlegm in the body, and avgolemono packs in the tartness with the homey feel of chicken soup. — U.R. 701 Union St., San Francisco. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Our favorite cure-all soups in San Francisco," 1 Mar. 2018 The topic is Hippocrates’ psychological prototypes — melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric — based on ancient beliefs in four corresponding humors: black bile, blood, phlegm and yellow bile. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Joffrey’s intense, anything-but-safe ‘Modern Masters’ shows how American ballet got here," 8 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phlegm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of phlegm

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for phlegm

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phlegm

Statistics for phlegm

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phlegm

The first known use of phlegm was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for phlegm

phlegm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of phlegm

: a thick, yellowish liquid that is produced in the nose and throat especially when a person has a cold
literary : calmness in a difficult or unpleasant situation

phlegm

noun
\ ˈflem How to pronounce phlegm (audio) \

Medical Definition of phlegm

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 : viscid mucus secreted in abnormal quantity in the respiratory passages

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on phlegm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with phlegm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for phlegm

Spanish Central: Translation of phlegm

Nglish: Translation of phlegm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phlegm for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phlegm

Comments on phlegm

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

to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!