sple·​net·​ic | \ spli-ˈne-tik How to pronounce splenetic (audio) , archaic ˈsple-nə-(ˌ)tik \

Definition of splenetic

1 archaic : given to melancholy
2 : marked by bad temper, malevolence, or spite

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Other Words from splenetic

splenetic noun
splenetically \ spli-​ˈne-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce splenetic (audio) \ adverb

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In early Western physiology, a person's physical qualities and mental disposition were believed to be determined by the proportion of four bodily humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. The last of these was believed to be secreted by the spleen, causing feelings of disposition ranging from intense sadness (melancholia) to irascibility. This now-discredited association explains how the use of splenetic (deriving from the Late Latin spleneticus and the Latin splen, meaning "spleen") came to mean both "bad-tempered" and "given to melancholy" as well as "of or relating to the spleen." In later years, the "melancholy" sense fell out of use, but the sense pertaining to ill humor or malevolence remains with us today.

Examples of splenetic in a Sentence

the newspaper publisher's splenetic editorials often struck fear into local politicians
Recent Examples on the Web In Rithy Panh’s frenetic, splenetic new hybrid essay film, everything will most assuredly not be OK. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 12 Feb. 2022 Despite the politicians’ splenetic arguments all week, Macron’s plan passed the National Assembly by a vote of 214 to 93. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, 6 Jan. 2022 In the end, the IRA’s menagerie of false personas and fusillades of splenetic memes were arguably more effective at garnering sensationalistic headlines than shifting public opinion. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, 11 May 2020 Parlá is loose with his fields of color, but never splenetic. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 8 Mar. 2020 Kalder proposes Lenin as the originator of the modern totalitarian style in prose, adopting Marx’s splenetic polemical tone for the purposes of Communist revolution. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 16 Dec. 2019 But in contrast with the splenetic, us-and-them president, the Conners handle differences with love. The Economist, 5 Apr. 2018 Based on the three episodes Showtime made available, that wasn’t enough to approximate the texture of Mr. St. Aubyn’s work — the way pathos, for better or worse, peeks through the cracks of his comic-splenetic detachment. New York Times, 10 May 2018 Owing to his erratic, splenetic, chaotic style of governing, these same months have left the rest of us with what might be called Trump Syndrome, whose chief symptom is a diminishing interest in anything outside politics. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 18 Apr. 2018 See More

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

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for splenetic

Late Latin spleneticus, from Latin splen spleen

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The first known use of splenetic was in 1697

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Cite this Entry

“Splenetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/splenetic. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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