\ ˈsplēn How to pronounce spleen (audio) \

Definition of spleen

1 : 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
2 obsolete : the seat of emotions or passions
3 archaic : melancholy
4 : feelings of anger or ill will often suppressed
5 obsolete : a sudden impulse or whim : caprice

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Synonyms & Antonyms for spleen



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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 Individuals with a weak immune system, a history of alcoholism or their spleens removed are especially vulnerable to the infection, researchers noted. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Healthy man dies after being licked by dog and getting rare infection, researchers found," 25 Nov. 2019 The crash broke his neck, ruptured his diaphragm and shredded his spleen. Washington Post, "A troubled teen hoped to start over at college. Instead he died ‘in the drunk tank.’," 4 Nov. 2019 Sam Darnold stepped to the podium as the Jets’ starting quarterback again, his once-swollen spleen no longer keeping him from playing in a game. BostonGlobe.com, "It’s officially ‘‘Duck’’ season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.," 12 Oct. 2019 Since damage to the spleen can be serious, the Jets are playing it safe and have not cleared Darnold for physical contact yet. Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times, "Cardi B wants to name her next album ‘Tiger Woods’," 3 Oct. 2019 Damage to the spleen, including a rupture, is a serious _ and, in some cases, life-threatening _ situation, so the Jets and Darnold are being cautious. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jets QB Darnold practicing, still not cleared for contact," 2 Oct. 2019 Symptoms include joint abnormalities and skeletal malfunctions, an enlarged liver or spleen and cardiac disease. Tatiana Sanchez, SFChronicle.com, "Critically ill Concord woman slated for deportation will remain in the U.S.," 9 Dec. 2019 But the body appeared to be male, which was confirmed by DNA in a kidney, but not in the spleen or the lung, which contained male and female DNA. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "When a DNA Test Says You’re a Younger Man, Who Lives 5,000 Miles Away," 7 Dec. 2019 The spleen nearly touches the curvature of the stomach and a section of the colon. D. T. Max, The New Yorker, "Paging Dr. Robot," 23 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spleen.' 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 spleen

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spleen

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

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Time Traveler for spleen

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for spleen

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spleen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spleen. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for spleen


How to pronounce spleen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of spleen

: an organ located near your stomach that destroys worn-out red blood cells and produces white blood cells
literary : feelings of anger


\ ˈsplēn How to pronounce spleen (audio) \

Kids Definition of spleen

: an organ near the stomach that destroys worn-out red blood cells and produces some of the white blood cells


\ ˈsplēn How to pronounce spleen (audio) \

Medical Definition of spleen

: 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

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