Thesaurus

phlegmatic

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of phlegmatic

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About phlegmatic

How is the word phlegmatic distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of phlegmatic are apathetic, impassive, stoic, and stolid. While all these words mean "unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion," phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse.

a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears

When is it sensible to use apathetic instead of phlegmatic?

Although the words apathetic and phlegmatic have much in common, apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness.

charitable appeals met an apathetic response

When would impassive be a good substitute for phlegmatic?

While in some cases nearly identical to phlegmatic, impassive stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression.

met the news with an impassive look

When is stoic a more appropriate choice than phlegmatic?

The meanings of stoic and phlegmatic largely overlap; however, stoic implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a matter of principle or self-discipline.

was resolutely stoic even in adversity

Where would stolid be a reasonable alternative to phlegmatic?

The words stolid and phlegmatic can be used in similar contexts, but stolid implies a habitual absence of interest, responsiveness, or curiosity.

stolid workers wedded to routine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phlegmatic

Time Traveler for phlegmatic

Time Traveler

The first known use of phlegmatic was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about phlegmatic

Cite this Entry

“Phlegmatic.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/phlegmatic. Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on phlegmatic

Dictionary: Definition of phlegmatic

Medical Dictionary: Definition of phlegmatic

Britannica English: Translation of phlegmatic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on phlegmatic

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!