: a highly vascular ductless organ that is located in the left abdominal region near the stomach or intestine of most vertebrates and is concerned with final destruction of red blood cells, filtration and storage of blood, and production of lymphocytes
obsolete : the seat of emotions or passions
archaic : melancholy
: feelings of anger or ill will often suppressed
obsolete : a sudden impulse or whim : caprice
Choose the Right Synonym for spleen

malice, malevolence, ill will, spite, malignity, spleen, grudge mean the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress.

malice implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer.

felt no malice toward their former enemies

malevolence suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct.

a look of dark malevolence

ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration.

ill will provoked by a careless remark

spite implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments.

petty insults inspired by spite

malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness.

a life consumed by motiveless malignity

spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice.

venting his spleen against politicians

grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction.

never one to harbor a grudge

Examples of spleen in a Sentence

vented her spleen and felt much better for having done so the bill's failure to pass in the legislature was due to nothing more than partisan spleen
Recent Examples on the Web He separately was hospitalized and underwent surgery to have his spleen removed. Rachel Wisniewski, STAT, 7 Sep. 2023 Seatbelts crack clavicles, bruise spleens, burst bladders. Oliver Broudy, Men's Health, 17 Aug. 2023 But for those with two such genes, the potential complications include acute pain episodes, acute chest syndrome, strokes, priapism, jaundice, numb chin syndrome, an enlarged spleen, leg ulcers, and damaged blood cells in the retina, which can lead to blindness. Krithika Varagur, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 Golden retrievers, for example, commonly die of a spleen cancer called hemangiosarcoma around age 10-12. USA TODAY, 15 June 2023 Samples from his spleen have been sent for further testing, the statement said. Adam Sennott, BostonGlobe.com, 10 June 2023 Desir requested he be released on home detention, in part because of his medical needs — the teen underwent surgery that removed a kidney and his spleen, and was hospitalized for roughly two weeks. Darcy Costello, Baltimore Sun, 30 May 2023 Family members and coaches confirmed to local media that Washington has damage to multiple organs and had to have her spleen removed because of the shooting. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2023 People with autoimmune issues and without spleens are particularly susceptible. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 12 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spleen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English splen, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French espleen, from Latin splen, from Greek splēn; akin to Latin lien spleen, Sanskrit plīhan

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spleen was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near spleen

Cite this Entry

“Spleen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spleen. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an organ containing many blood vessels that is located near the stomach or intestine of most vertebrates, destroys worn-out red blood cells, filters the blood, and produces some white blood cells
: feelings of anger or ill will that are often not expressed

Medical Definition


: a highly vascular ductless abdominal organ of vertebrates that resembles a gland in organization but is closely associated with the circulatory system, that plays a role in the final destruction of red blood cells, filtration and storage of blood, and production of lymphocytes, and that in humans is a dark purplish flattened oblong object of a soft fragile consistency lying near the cardiac end of the stomach and consisting largely of blood and lymphoid tissue enclosed in a fibroelastic capsule from which trabeculae ramify through the tissue of the organ which is divisible into a loose friable red pulp in intimate connection with the blood supply and with red blood cells free in its interstices and a denser white pulp chiefly of lymphoid tissue condensed in masses about the small arteries

More from Merriam-Webster on spleen

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