The Four Temperaments: (l-r) Choleric, Melancholy, Sanguine and Phlegmatic (Source: Peng/Wikipedia)
Long before the MBTI and other personality tests, there were the Four Temperaments, or Four Humors. They are associated with bodily fluids, specifically blood (sanguine), phlegm (phlegmatic), yellow bile (choleric), and black bile (melancholy). They’ve been around for a long time (they might be from ancient Egypt), and, while the theory has largely been discredited by professional psychologists, we still use the words to describe the behaviors.
Choleric behavior is characterized by high stress, extroversion, and egocentrism. They tend to be task-oriented and look to get a job done quickly, correctly, and efficiently. They can be aggressive. The ideal business executive, military officer, surgeon, or lawyer often displays choleric characteristics. When you need to get something done, they’re good people to have around.
My brothers and I represent the four temperaments: each of us is predominantly one of these humors, and each of us is different. Of course, no one is strictly any one of these: I’m the sanguine of the group, but as Mary says, I have enough of a choleric temperament so that I get things done. Each temperament has its good and bad points about it, and it’s not like the Chinese zodiac, where you’re told which signs you pair well with and which you should avoid. (For the record, I’m a Monkey, which pairs well with Rats and Dragons, but I should stay away from Tigers. Probably not a bad idea, huh?)
from The Sound of One Hand Typing