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

The rat formed a pancreas made entirely of mouse cells. David Cyranoski, Scientific American, "Japan Approves First Human-Animal Embryo Experiments," 9 Aug. 2019 Insulin is manufactured to be identical to the insulin produced by the human pancreas. Elena Toschi,, "Safe and effective use of insulin requires proper storage," 1 Aug. 2019 If everything went to plan, Nakauchi would grow a human pancreas suitable for transplant. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "I Guess You Can Grow a Human Pancreas In a Rat Now," 26 July 2019 My spleen was removed in October, but the pancreas was left intact when the surgeon found the tumor had wrapped itself around the aorta artery. Joyce Rudolph,, "Community: Longtime columnist goes through fight of her life," 3 June 2019 The pancreas is deep inside the body, so early tumors can’t be seen or felt by health care providers during routine physical exams. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg was treated for pancreatic cancer this summer. Here's what we know," 26 Aug. 2019 The pancreas is an oblong organ that lies deep in the abdomen and is an integral part of both the digestive and endocrine system. Elizabeth Landau, CNN, "Why pancreatic cancer is so deadly," 23 Aug. 2019 Preliminary autopsy reports indicated the couple had internal bleeding, including in their pancreases, and pulmonary edema. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Dominican Republic's health ministry calls mysterious deaths 'fake news' as official lashes out in interview," 20 June 2019 To compensate, the pancreas creates even more insulin to try to overcome the resistance. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "What's the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?," 10 Sep. 2018

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

21 Sep 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

Comments on pancreas

What made you want to look up pancreas? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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