• WordNet 3.6
    • n phlegm inactivity; showing an unusual lack of energy "the general appearance of sluggishness alarmed his friends"
    • n phlegm expectorated matter; saliva mixed with discharges from the respiratory passages; in ancient and medieval physiology it was believed to cause sluggishness
    • n phlegm apathy demonstrated by an absence of emotional reactions
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Phlegm (Old Chem) A watery distilled liquor, in distinction from a spirituous liquor.
    • Phlegm One of the four humors of which the ancients supposed the blood to be composed. See Humor.
    • Phlegm Sluggishness of temperament; dullness; want of interest; indifference; coldness. "They judge with fury, but they write with phlegm ."
    • Phlegm (Physiol) Viscid mucus secreted in abnormal quantity in the respiratory and digestive passages.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n phlegm One of the four humors of which the ancients supposed the blood to be composed.
    • n phlegm In old chemistry, the aqueous, insipid, and in odorous products obtained by subjecting moist vegetable matter to the action of heat.
    • n phlegm A thick viscid matter secreted in the digestive and respiratory passages, and discharged by coughing or vomiting; bronchial mucus.
    • n phlegm Dullness; sluggishness; indifference; coolness; apathy; calm self-restraint.
    • n phlegm Synonyms Insensibility, Impassibility, etc. See apathy.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Phlegm flem one of the four elements of which the ancients supposed the blood to be composed: the thick, slimy matter secreted in the throat, and discharged by coughing: sluggishness: indifference: calmness
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. phlegme, flegme, L. phlegma, fr. Gr. a flame, inflammation, phlegm, a morbid, clammy humor in the body, fr. to burn. Cf. Phlox Flagrant Flame Bleak (a.), and Fluminate
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L.,—Gr. phlegma, phlegmatosphlegein, to burn.


In literature:

Our composer took his failures with great phlegm and good nature, based, perhaps, on an invincible self-confidence.
"Great Italian and French Composers" by George T. Ferris
Malise, the master armourer, stood silent, taking the matter with his usual phlegm, but the Abbot was voluble.
"The Black Douglas" by S. R. Crockett
The neuralgia in the lungs, the tough phlegm, weakness, etc., have all disappeared.
"The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English" by R. V. Pierce
Whether officers or men, those who came out of hell were still true to their heritage of English phlegm.
"My Second Year of the War" by Frederick Palmer
Phlegm, indeed, makes Men peevish and sick; but then there is no living without it.
"Zadig" by Voltaire
The court of Madrid seemed to have shaken off that indolence and phlegm which had formerly disgraced the councils of Spain.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. From William and Mary to George II." by Tobias Smollett
Latterly much of the thick phlegm had adhered to the lungs, and consequently the difficulty of breathing was great.
"Jerome Cardan" by William George Waters
Even the stolid British phlegm had vanished.
"The Eagle of the Empire" by Cyrus Townsend Brady
With all his Oriental phlegm the man could not keep his countenance.
"The Opal Serpent" by Fergus Hume
Made a great quantity of water during the night, and spat up a great deal of watery phlegm.
"An Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses" by William Withering

In poetry:

Peace to the phlegm of sullen elves,
Who, if from labour eased,
Extend no care beyond themselves,
Unpleasing and unpleased.
"Addressed To Miss Macartney, Afterwards Mrs. Greville, On Reading The Prayer For Indifference" by William Cowper

In news:

COPD symptoms include airflow obstruction, breathlessness, chronic cough and excessive phlegm, the agency said in a news release.
It develops slowly and symptoms – which include coughing with or without mucous and phlegm, shortness of breath , wheezing and chest tightness – get worse over time.
Helixia™ Cough is used as an expectorant to help relieve coughing and loosen mucus and phlegm.
How to fix " French Fries " and "Phlegm".
This Chicago woman is a phlegm factory.
Deputy Edward Bylsma sued Burger King in US District Court claiming a Burger King employee with a criminal record ruined his late-night snack by spitting – brace yourself – a "slimy, clear and white phlegm glob" into his Whopper.