\ˈsplēn \

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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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

Without treatment, children with ALPS suffer from swollen and painful lymph nodes and spleen, uncontrolled bleeding and increased infections. Aimee Swartz, Washington Post, "Viagra and many other drugs were discovered by chance. Now science is hoping to change that.," 13 May 2018 Doctors used radiation treatments to shrink the patient’s spleen and skin lesions. Denise Grady, New York Times, "A Promising Cancer Treatment Made Patients Worse, Not Better," 5 June 2018 Amber was unconscious with broken ribs and a torn spleen, hooked up to machines. Jonathan Small, Good Housekeeping, "A Drunk Driver Destroyed Jennifer Tracy's Family. Now, She Wants to Save Him.," 2 July 2018 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, Philly.com, "EatNic in Paoli closes over health and business issues," 19 May 2018 The surgery to remove Winston’s ruptured spleen was successful. Janice Gary, Longreads, "Bang and Vanish," 18 Apr. 2018 After activating a mouse’s reward system, the researchers analyzed immune cells in its spleen. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 Some patients become extremely fatigued, and some have a swollen liver or spleen. New York Times, "My Daughter Has Mono. Is the Whole Family at Risk?," 29 June 2018 Leprosy-causing bacteria have been shown to concentrate in the liver, as well as the spleen. National Geographic, "Humans Gave Leprosy to Armadillos. Now, They’re Giving It Back," 28 June 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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Phrases Related to spleen

vent one's spleen

Statistics for spleen

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

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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

: feelings of anger


\ˈsplēn \

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 \

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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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