phlegmatic was our Word of the Day on 10/12/2016. Hear the podcast!
Examples of phlegmatic in a sentence
Some people are phlegmatic, some highly strung. Some are anxious, others risk-seeking. Some are confident, others shy. Some are quiet, others loquacious. We call these differences personality … —Matt Ridley, Genome, 1999
Why would a man live like this? Alone on the godforsaken prairie surrounded by whispering cornfields and phlegmatic Swedes if instead you could go to picture shows and snazzy restaurants and dance with a beautiful woman with her head on your shoulder and her perfume driving you wild? —Garrison Keillor, WLT: A Radio Romance, 1991
But Einstein was phlegmatic: when a book was published entitled 100 Authors Against Einstein, he retorted, “If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!” —Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1988
a strangely phlegmatic response to what should have been happy news
Did You Know?
According to the ancient Greeks, human personalities were controlled by four bodily fluids or semifluids called humors: blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm. Each humor was associated with one of the four basic elements: air, earth, fire, and water. Phlegm was paired with water—the cold, moist element—and it was believed to impart the cool, calm, unemotional personality we now call the "phlegmatic type." That's a bit odd, given that the term derives from the Greek phlegma, which literally means "flame," perhaps a reflection of the inflammation that colds and flus often bring.
Origin and Etymology of phlegmatic
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of phlegmatic
PHLEGMATIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of phlegmatic for English Language Learners
: not easily upset, excited, or angered
Seen and Heard
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