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 In January, Evans had his right kidney and parts of his pancreas and small intestine removed because of cancer. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Tennessee Titans teammates support UAB’s first NFL player in cancer fight," 27 June 2020 Damage to the gallbladder (like the pancreas) can cause digestive symptoms. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Watch: From nose to toe, the Covid-19 virus attacks like no other ‘respiratory’ infection," 26 June 2020 Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Fever rookie Lauren Cox: Competitor, inspiration, ready to return basketball," 21 June 2020 By then, Sandifer had to have a portion of her pancreas removed. Brianna Bailey, ProPublica, "The Only Hospital in Town Was Failing. They Promised to Help but Only Made It Worse.," 4 June 2020 Ginsburg received radiation treatment last year for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas. Harold Maass, TheWeek, "10 things you need to know today: May 7, 2020," 7 May 2020 The disease affects the pancreas, the organ responsible for digesting food and regulating blood sugar levels — located between the stomach and the spine. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Rep. John Lewis and Alex Trebek have pancreatic cancer. What are symptoms, treatments?," 31 Dec. 2019 Around the same time, in 2015, facing a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Scardapane underwent what is known as a Whipple procedure, in which several organs, including part of the pancreas, gallbladder, and spleen, were removed. Michael Klein,, "EatNic in Paoli closes over health and business issues," 19 May 2018 The surgery had been extensive, with part of Mubarak's pancreas and a growth on his small intestine removed as well; still, the cancer was growing. Hilary Clarke, CNN, "Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian strongman undone by the Arab Spring, dead at 91," 25 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pancreas

Time Traveler

The first known use of pancreas was in 1578

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Statistics for pancreas

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pancreas.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for pancreas


How to pronounce pancreas (audio)

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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