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
Recent Examples of phlegmatic from the Web
Orwell’s increasingly phlegmatic and introverted personality, combined with a fierce idealism and a devotion to accuracy in writing, brought him as a writer to fight to protect a private place in that modern world.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phlegmatic'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
phlegm and the Four Temperaments
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
What made you want to look up phlegmatic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).