- Phlegm is defined as mucus in the back of your throat or your respiratory passages, or a sluggish or calm temperament.
- When you have a cold and your mucus membranes start acting up and producing a lot of gunk in your throat that you cough up, this gunk that you cough up is an example of phlegm.
- When you face a harsh situation and you don't get emotional or excited but instead you remain calm and steadfast to resolve the problem, this is an example of phlegm.
- the thick, stringy mucus secreted by the mucous glands of the respiratory tract and discharged from the throat, as during a cold
- Obsolete that one of the four humors of the body which was believed in medieval times to cause sluggishness or dullness
- sluggishness or apathy
- calmness or composure
Origin of phlegmMiddle English fleume ; from Middle French ; from Late Latin phlegma, clammy humor of the body ; from Classical Greek inflammation, hence, humors caused by inflammation ; from phlegein, to burn: for Indo-European base see black
- Thick, sticky, stringy mucus secreted by the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, as during a cold or other respiratory infection.
- One of the four humors of ancient and medieval physiology, thought to cause sluggishness, apathy, and evenness of temper.
- Sluggishness of temperament.
- Calm self-possession; equanimity.
Origin of phlegmMiddle English fleume, mucous discharge, the humor phlegm, from Old French, from Medieval Latin phlegma, flegma, from Late Latin phlegma, the humor phlegm, from Greek, heat, the humor phlegm, from phlegein, to burn.
(usually uncountable, plural phlegms)
- (historical) One of the four humors making up the body in ancient and mediaeval medicine; said to be cold and moist, and often identified with mucus. [from 13th c.]
- Viscid mucus produced by the body, later especially mucus expelled from the bronchial passages by coughing. [from 14th c.]
- (historical, chemistry, alchemy) A watery distillation, especially one obtained from plant matter; an aqueous solution. [from 16th c.]
- Calmness of temperament, composure; also seen negatively, sluggishness, indifference. [from 16th c.]
From Old French fleume, Middle French phlegme (French flegme), and their source, Latin phlegma, from Ancient Greek Ï†Î»ÎÎ³Î¼Î± (phlegma, “flame; inflammation; clammy humor in the body"), from Ï†Î»ÎÎ³ÎµÎ¹Î½ (phlegein, “to burn"). Compare phlox, flagrant, flame, bleak (adjective), fulminate.