pan·​cre·​as | \ ˈpaŋ-krē-əs How to pronounce pancreas (audio) , ˈpan- \

Definition of pancreas

: a large lobulated gland of vertebrates that secretes digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon

Other Words from pancreas

pancreatic \ ˌpaŋ-​krē-​ˈa-​tik How to pronounce pancreas (audio) , ˌpan-​ \ adjective

Examples of pancreas in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In Type 1, a person’s pancreas — which regulates blood sugar — produces little or no insulin. The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 July 2022 In the 1960s, liver, heart and pancreas transplants followed. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 Living donors can give kidneys, a liver lobe, a lung, part of a lung, part of the pancreas or part of the intestines. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 18 Apr. 2022 AdventHealth Transplant Institute is the only location in Orlando that provides solid organ transplants, a category that includes the heart, kidney, liver, lungs and pancreas. Caroline Catherman,, 13 Apr. 2022 In T1d, the pancreas gland is not working properly to release insulin. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 7 Apr. 2022 Even when the tumors are caught in the pancreas and surgically removed, about 85 percent of patients have recurrences. Gina Kolata, New York Times, 1 June 2022 Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas no longer makes insulin, a hormone that helps blood sugar enter cells, where it is used by the body as energy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 May 2022 Inside, Cañedo was dead from a bullet to the pancreas. Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pancreas.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of pancreas

1578, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pancreas

New Latin, from Greek pankreas sweetbread, from pan- + kreas flesh, meat — more at raw

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Time Traveler for pancreas

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The first known use of pancreas was in 1578

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pancreas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for pancreas


pan·​cre·​as | \ ˈpaŋ-krē-əs How to pronounce pancreas (audio) \

Kids Definition of pancreas

: a large gland near the stomach that produces insulin and a fluid ( pancreatic juice ) with enzymes that aid digestion


pan·​cre·​as | \ ˈpaŋ-krē-əs, ˈpan- How to pronounce pancreas (audio) \
plural pancreases also pancreata\ pan-​ˈkrē-​ət-​ə How to pronounce pancreas (audio) \

Medical Definition of pancreas

: a large lobulated gland that in humans lies in front of the upper lumbar vertebrae and behind the stomach and is somewhat hammer-shaped and firmly attached anteriorly to the curve of the duodenum with which it communicates through one or more pancreatic ducts and that consists of (1) tubular acini secreting digestive enzymes which pass to the intestine and function in the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; (2) modified acinar cells that form islets of Langerhans between the tubules and secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon; and (3) a firm connective-tissue capsule that extends supportive strands into the organ

More from Merriam-Webster on pancreas

Nglish: Translation of pancreas for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pancreas for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pancreas


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