\ 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

These stories are rooted, of course, in a deep history of civic boosterism — real estate narratives, spleen-venting newspaper columns and all manner of quick-money speculators. Lynell George, Los Angeles Times, "These stories explain L.A.'s dazzling rise," 7 Sep. 2019 Sickle cell also prevents oxygen from reaching vital organs — and in Denver’s high altitude, Clark’s spleen and gallbladder withered. Katie Wudel, Los Angeles Times, "Review: The mosquito isn’t just annoying — Timothy C. Winegard says we’re at war," 9 Aug. 2019 When the group harvested spleens from the mice a week later, five of six mice had no detectable HIV DNA and their average viral levels had dropped 97.5%. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Can an immune strategy used to treat cancer also wipe out HIV infections?," 7 Aug. 2019 The first two bullets missed; the third punctured Warhol’s esophagus, stomach, spleen, liver, and lungs. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "“Valerie” Is an Extraordinary Love Letter to a Radical Feminist," 1 Aug. 2019 This enables them to slip through the membranes of cells in places where HIV tends to hide, like the liver, lymph tissue, and spleen. Alice Park, Time, "For the First Time, Researchers Eliminated HIV From the Genomes of Living Animals," 2 July 2019 Inside the body, the brain, spinal column, and spleen all serve as reservoirs for the infected prions, which makes them good areas for diagnosis. al.com, "A deadly deer disease is spreading and could infect humans," 14 June 2019 Inside the body, the brain, spinal column, and spleen all serve as reservoirs for the infected prions, which makes them good areas for diagnosis. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A deadly deer disease is spreading. Could it strike people, too?," 14 June 2019 Complications that threaten human life include swelling of the blood vessels in the brain, a build-up of fluid in the lungs, organ failure (of the kidneys, liver or spleen), anemia, and low blood sugar. Fox News, "Bill Gates donates $4M to create mosquitoes that kill each other using sex," 22 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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Statistics for spleen

Last Updated

14 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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