Technically it’s not an “f” word, but it has the “f” sound courtesy of the “ph.” And you’ve got to admit it’s a great word. You can do so much with it. It sounds to me like it should be in a Gallagher routine with the Sledge-O-Matic or an “I Love Lucy” skit like Vit-a-meat-a-veg-amin. Interestingly, while I was reading up on Gallagher in Wikipedia, I saw he’s also known for using word play in his act to point out the eccentricities of the English language. Hey, that’s just like me! I should be a famous comedian.
Phlegmatic – (fleg mat ik) adj. 1. Not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish. 2. Self-possesed; cool. 3. Of the nature or abounding in the humor phlegm.
While I love the sound of this word and the endless possibilities for meanings it conjures up, it was this last definition that I was really drawn to. How can you not include a word on your word of the week post when it comes with a definition like “abounding in the humor phlegm?” Who knew phlegm was one of the humors? I knew bile was one, but phlegm?
The other thing I really like about this word is pronouncing it, not as indicated by the dictionary, but rather as it should be, which is phledge-o-matic. Why doesn’t Websters consult me first? Anyway, if you’re super up-tight and pedantic and insist on learning the real pronunciation and using it correctly or whatever, here’s some examples.
Use in a sentence: “My boss is so phlegmatic. He can’t get anything done. So, now I get stuck with his work and my work. I’m working late every night, and of course he’s the one with everyone oohing and ahhing over him while I’m the one doing all the work. It’s really starting to piss me off. And everybody thinks he’s so cute and funny. Well, I’ll tell you he’s not. He’s a little troll. He’s a little, tiny, greenish-yellow, slimy, gooey, oozing, disgusting, lazy troll.”
Now, in the above sentence who’s the boss? A man or a child? We’ll never know.
Use in a sentence in a futuristic world: “Just put the cat in the phledge-o-matic. She’ll be fine for a couple of days. I really love the new phledge-o-matic. It makes cat storage while you’re away so much easier than before when we had to find someone to cat sit and then bring them back little gifts as thank yous. Now we can just pop the cat in the phledge-o-matic and preserve her for the days we’re gone. When we get back she’s none the wiser. It’s like nothing ever happened.”
Use in a sentence in a not-so-distant futuristic world: “Honey, I made burgers for dinner. Hope that’s good.”
“Yeah, I could eat a burger every night, but what kind is it?”
“The usual. Angus beef.”
“No, I mean how is it made?”
“You mean like from a real cow on a farm? No, no. I got it from the phleg-o-matic.”
“I hate that kind. You know how I prefer my meat from real, live animals.”
“Oh, it all tastes the same for Pete’s sake. You have to be so elitist – wanting everything from real animals. Give me a break. A test tube burger is just as good as a grass-fed cow burger.”
(You heard it here first people. Unless you heard it first on the news last night. Tasty test tube burgers are coming our way. It’s not just GMOs we have to worry about anymore. It’s lab-made meat. Let this be my little public service announcement to you.)
Who can name the other humors? You’ll win a prize if you do.*
*Disclaimer: I have no prizes, but if you would like I will gladly give you one of my children.
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