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

Keep scrolling for more

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 During surgery at AdventHealth, doctors found Patient U.O. had multiple organ injuries, arterial bleeding, cuts to her liver and pancreas, and injuries to her stomach and colon, according to the order. Monivette Cordeiro,, 31 Mar. 2021 Bothun donated his heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas. Joe Carlson, Star Tribune, 10 Mar. 2021 Bagley said her son’s organs were donated and his heart went to a 17-year-old, while his kidneys, pancreas and liver went to older men. Justin Fenton,, 9 Nov. 2020 Too much belly fat points to a buildup of a unique type of fat, called visceral fat, around various internal organs, such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 23 Sep. 2020 According to the American Cancer Society, small-cell cancer is a highly malignant cancer commonly found within the lungs but can affect areas such as the prostate, pancreas, bladder or lymph nodes. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, 26 Apr. 2021 He was sidelined briefly last summer after a small growth was removed from his pancreas. Gabriel Stovall, The Courier-Journal, 21 Apr. 2021 Looking at cancer in particular, women should be concerned about breast cancer, while both men and women should be concerned about cancers of the head and neck, as well as GI cancers (esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver and colon). Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 7 Apr. 2021 Additionally, some dogs can develop pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, after eating peanuts because of the fat content. Jennifer Nelson, Southern Living, 14 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pancreas

Time Traveler for pancreas

Time Traveler

The first known use of pancreas was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pancreas

Last Updated

26 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pancreas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!