\ 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


anger, angriness, birse [chiefly Scottish], choler, furor, fury, indignation, irateness, ire, lividity, lividness, mad, madness, mood [archaic], outrage, rage, wrath, wrathfulness


delight, pleasure

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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

The report from the medical examiner in El Paso, Texas, says traces of streptococcus bacteria were found in Jakelin’s lungs, adrenal gland, liver, and spleen. Nomaan Merchant, The Seattle Times, "Autopsy: Migrant child who died in US custody had infection," 30 Mar. 2019 Turns out, kids with Hunter Syndrome often have protruding bellies because their livers and spleens are so full of cellular waste. Emily Lieber, Good Housekeeping, "A Rare Disease Handed My Sweet Baby Boy a Death Sentence — But I’m Fighting Like Hell to Save Him," 13 July 2018 Legions of diseased tissue had been found all the way up to my spleen and appendix, which was so overtaken by scar tissue that it, too, had been taken out. Leah Campbell, Glamour, "I Lost My Fertility at 26," 23 Apr. 2019 One of the most common forms of lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells, B cell lymphoma is generally found in the lymph nodes or spleen. Sandra G. Boodman, Washington Post, "Doctors told this 20-year-old his back pain wasn’t serious. Then he couldn’t walk.," 6 Mar. 2018 Her spleen became enlarged because the sickle cells built up in it, so doctors gave her transfusions. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "You'd never know this happy-go-lucky 2-year-old has sickle cell anemia. But it's always on her mom's mind.," 11 June 2018 The persistent pain that Garza felt during workouts upon arriving back on campus prompted a visit to the doctor, where a CAT scan revealed the cyst, which was attached to his spleen. Luke Meredith, The Seattle Times, "Sophomore Luka Garza on a tear for surging Hawkeyes," 5 Feb. 2019 According to the Mayo Clinic, a ruptured spleen typically occurs during a forceful blow to the abdomen and can cause life-threatening internal bleeding without emergency treatment. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "High school football player ruptures spleen during game," 6 Sep. 2018 No one called for help for nearly 12 hours, and Piazza later died of head, spleen, and lung injuries. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "Pa. AG to appeal dismissal of charges in Penn State hazing death of Timothy Piazza," 26 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for spleen

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for spleen

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

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More Definitions for spleen



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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More from Merriam-Webster on spleen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spleen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spleen

Spanish Central: Translation of spleen

Nglish: Translation of spleen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spleen for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about spleen

Comments on spleen

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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