In Which I Invent the Word “Phlegmnation.”

The definition of which is: The act of cursing someone to be afflicted with phlegm; or, to be afflicted with phlegm, with or without moral judgment cast.

Use in sample sentences:

“I cast you into eternal phlegmnation! May Kimberly-Clark have mercy on your soul.”

“I suffer phlegmnation. You may wish to dunk yourself in hand sanitizer.”

A quick Google check prior to the entry being posted shows no instance of the word “phlegmnation,” and only on instance of “phlegm-nation,” being used similarly to “tarnation.” So I claim “phlegmnation” for all time, for use of all humankind. Please use it in good health, as ironic as that might sound.



43 Comments on “In Which I Invent the Word “Phlegmnation.””

  1. We suffer from that a lot around here, particularly the past couple of weeks with tree pollen. Even the cats have had bouts of phlegmnation.

    I thank you for this word.

  2. After the Space Marines debacle where the term was ‘trademarked’ by Games Workshop I don’t suppose phlegmnation will remain public domain for long :(
    However, in the spirit of things I would like to be the first to coin the word autoignitedanimaannexation, I’ll leave you to guess what it refers to :)

  3. So phlegmnation is when your sinuses are inphlegmed by having a phlegm war. Having a word for what’s going on in my head does not make me feel better. Can’t someone come up with an anti-inphlegmatory curse?

  4. Further to your request, I can confirm that Kimberly Clarke does have mercy on your soul.

    You’re welcome.

    Kimberly Clarke

  5. shineanthology – Jetse de Vries is a technical specialist for a propulsion company, and used to travel the world for this. Of late, due to the increased time both his story writing and several future editing projects are taking up, he's trying to settle into a desk job by giving both the company’s own specialists and customers training courses. He was part of the Interzone editorial team from March 2004 until September 2008. His non-fiction articles, reviews, essays and interviews have appeared in Interzone, The Fix, New York Review of Science Fiction, Focus, and others. He writes SF since 1999, and had his first story published in November 2003. His stories have appeared in about two dozen publications on both sides of the Atlantic, and include Amityville House of Pancakes, vol. 1, JPPN 2, Nemonymous 4, Northwest Passages: A Cascadian Anthology, DeathGrip: Exit Laughing, HUB Magazine #2, Clarkesworld Magazine, SF Waxes Philosophical, Postscripts 14 and Flurb, amongst others. They're upcoming in the A Mosque Among the Stars anthology (slated for September 2008) and another, yet-to-be-named anthology in 2009. Jetse has a blog at:


    An American who, most probably, has not travelled much into Far East Asia claims “Phlegmnation” for the USA. In the meantime, in a country, like, say, China, they’ll keep on producing more phlegm in public than the rest of the western world does in private. But what do I know.

    In other news, Americans call a sport where the ball is touched by the foot maybe 0.5 seconds per game “football”, while insisting that a game that literally *depends* on playing the ball by foot should be called “soccer”.

    Nothing to see here, people: all your culture belong to us.

    Question for the (non-)culturally impaired: the above is:

    a) serious;
    b) sarcasm;
    c) both;
    d) neither;

    Do check Google: it will tell you exactly what is right or wrong.

  6. Bob: And I claim the phrase “phlegm war,” the next step after flame war.

    But one where no one does anything, but everyone talks about how bored they are with the whole thing.

    Jetse: Oh, I get it! You’re being snotty. That’s really clever. Hidden in plain sight!

    I almost said you were doing a perfect imitation of a self-righteous, pedantic, stuck-up, toffee-nosed prig, but that spoils the joke.

  7. Phlegmethon. Phlegmnation would be a condition, not a location; you wouldn’t be cast into it so much as you would have it cast upon you. Phlegmethon, though, is what Phlegethon became after it cooled off — a river of warm mucus.
    Och aye, an’ we’re all for a wee gargle an’ glottis.

  8. If Mucinex alleviates excess mucous, then I suggest a round of hot phlegmonade with whiskey for all afflicted with phlegmnation. Well, maybe just the whiskey….

  9. Are you experiencing/suffering this condition yourself? And, having your thoughts forcibly turned to the matter, discovered a void in established nomenclature? An innominate curse, as it were?

  10. phlegmocity (n.): contagiousness (discourteousness × lung capacity) / distance^2 = phlegmocity

    @ Jetse

    In the meantime, in a country, like, say, China, they’ll keep on producing more phlegm in public than the rest of the western world does in private.

    *shudders* Don’t remind me. China is an indescribably splendid country full of rich, diverse cultures and kind people. But there was something at once simultaneously more hygienic and yet infinitely more disturbing about seeing that, in lieu of spitting on the ground (and drawing the kind of censure I can only dream of visiting upon public spitters here in the South), the Chinese carry plastic bags brimming with phlegmatic sputum from constant, onomatopoeically announced, expectorate hocking of loogies.

    Do check Google: it will tell you exactly what is right or wrong.

    I checked. Google said rugby or go home.

    @ Xopher Halftongue

    But one where no one does anything, but everyone talks about how bored they are with the whole thing.

    No, you’re thinking of a flan war.

    Jetse: Oh, I get it! You’re being snotty.

    Isn’t that SuperTed’s sidekick?

  11. Can I get a little bit meta and say that this place is hilarious? Right now, I’ve got a choice between reading Moby Dick for my American Lit class, or John Scalzi and John Scalzi’s commenters. It’s no contest.

  12. Gulliver, phlegm was the bodily humour associated with a relaxed, quiet temperament. The others were blood, black bile (melan chole), and yellow bile.

  13. @ stoicjim

    Whoa, PG-13 in the Whatizzile…

    @ Xopher

    I stand cholerected. I guess I need to work on my sense of humorism.

  14. I suppose the moment at which the phlegm rises would be phlegmbustion, accompanied by a cry of Phlegm on! if it’s to superhuman levels. But do phlegmable and inphlegmable mean the same thing?

  15. Are you sure about this? I thought ‘phlegmnation’ meant murder by drowning in a vat of phlegm?

  16. Who do you think you are, Scalzi? One of the Sherman Brothers? You can’t just go around CREATING WORDS, you know. What, do you expect Sick Van Duke and Julie Andrews to just start singing “Supercaliphlegmnationexpialidocious”, just because you thought up a new word?

  17. The thing is it’s just a word. One word. I mean, it’s a nice word, but I’m partial to phrases when it comes to expressing contempt. For example, I always remember this one from an old Leon Uris novel: may you find yourself in a sandstorm behind a camel’s ass. See, now that just sounds miserable.

  18. Phlegm is the classical physiologic humour (not the funny humor) characterized as cold and wet. The dictionary definition of phlegmatic is a person who is unemotional with a stoic/stolid, calm nature. Guess I’m too truly phlegmatic this morning to promote turning common usage on its head. :-)

  19. A public service announcement: “If you are suffering from phlegmnation, you may wish to postpone reading eBear’s Shattered Pillars. Really.”

  20. Annabelle – Australia – I'll say it straight up: we need some diversity in representations of everyday style. I'm not young, thin or glam anymore (or, not as much!) but I still feel good in certain outfits. Pretty much my whole wardrobe is from chain stores, and I'm proud of it. On the days I choose to do so, I can style it up by wearing what makes me feel good and what I'm comfortable in. I also know a large number of kickass women who style it up with what they've got on a daily basis, just to live their lives: going to work, wrangling kids and generally getting it done. They're a wide range of ages, stages, ethnic and indigenous backgrounds, as well as sizes and shapes. So I think this should be celebrated - just an awesome bloody outfit that makes you feel GOOD! On this blog I'll be posting these outfits of mine and writing my thoughts on everyday style. It exists entirely for my own amusement: I'm not selling anything, getting money from anywhere or gaining anything much. I'm just creating a visible space where all kinds of normal women can see what other normal women wear. No body hate, no fat shaming or skinny shaming. Just acceptance and STYLE...not shade! Let's do this, ladies!!! We can launch an amazing product just to show what being happy and stylish is all about!

    I think you’ve changed the world today, and entirely for the better :)

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