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

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Other Words from pancreas

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

Examples of pancreas in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Both had internal bleeding, including in their pancreases, according to Dominican authorities. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "FBI assisting Dominican Republic authorities by looking at minibar toxicology samples of US tourists who died," 21 June 2019 What if anti-CD3 could counter T cell attacks on the pancreas, which lead to type 1 diabetes? Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "In milestone trial, experimental drug delays type 1 diabetes," 9 June 2019 Air pollution is thought to trigger inflammation and reduce the ability of the pancreas to manage insulin production. Nadia Kounang, CNN, "Diabetes, cancer and death: These are the effects of polluted air," 19 June 2019 There’s a huge amount of damage to the skin that occurs; alcohol affects any mucous membrane, from the pancreas and liver to the skin. Vogue, "Why Giving Up Alcohol Could Transform Your Skin," 24 Apr. 2019 Several organs, including the pancreas and kidney, didn’t seem to have populations of cells that functioned exclusively as stem cells at all — implying that other cells in those tissues might have to assume stemlike duties in certain cases. Quanta Magazine, "To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal," 29 Aug. 2018 The couple had internal bleeding, including in their pancreases, according to Dominican authorities. Rosa Flores, CNN, "After mysterious tourist deaths and shooting of David Ortiz, Dominican tourism officials seek to reassure travelers," 12 June 2019 Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, a large gland that sits behind your stomach. Korin Miller, SELF, "What Is Pancreatitis, the Condition that Lead to Comedian Kevin Barnett’s Death?," 25 Jan. 2019 Malnourishment or dehydration Cancer can interfere with the function of your all-important digestive system, which is comprised of organs like your stomach, pancreas, and intestines. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Does Cancer Actually Kill Someone?," 15 Mar. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for pancreas

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pancreas

The first known use of pancreas was in 1578

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More Definitions for pancreas



English Language Learners Definition of pancreas

: a large gland of the body that is near the stomach and that produces insulin and other substances that help the body digest food


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 pancreata (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on pancreas

Spanish Central: Translation of pancreas

Nglish: Translation of pancreas for Spanish Speakers

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

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