Definition of phlegm noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//flem//
    ; NAmE NAmE//flem//
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  1. 1the thick substance that forms in the nose and throat, especially when you have a cold
  2. 2the ability to remain calm in a situation that is difficult or upsetting Phlegm and perseverance carried them through many troubles.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English fleem, fleume, from Old French fleume, from late Latin phlegma ‘clammy moisture (of the body)’, from Greek phlegma ‘inflammation’, from phlegein ‘to burn’. The spelling change in the 16th cent. was due to association with the Latin and Greek.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: phlegm