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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from splenetic

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

Did You Know?

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

But in contrast with the splenetic, us-and-them president, the Conners handle differences with love. The Economist, "A new season of “Roseanne” for the Trump era," 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, "Review: ‘Patrick Melrose’ Is Flat Despite a Peerless Benedict Cumberbatch," 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, "We’ve All Got Too Much Trump on Our Minds," 18 Apr. 2018 He's thumbed out splenetic tweets and worn out microphones calling for the arrest of whoever's leaking information about his administration. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "Trump rages about leakers. Obama quietly prosecuted them.," 8 June 2017 Yet a complete, physically detailed urban subculture is summoned through Mr. Owen’s words and Ms. Melville’s splenetic delivery of them. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Mythic Force Rages in the Welsh ‘Iphigenia in Splott’," 17 May 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about splenetic

Listen to Our Podcast about splenetic

Statistics for splenetic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for splenetic

The first known use of splenetic was in 1697

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for splenetic



English Language Learners Definition of splenetic

chiefly British, formal : very angry and annoyed

More from Merriam-Webster on splenetic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with splenetic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for splenetic

Comments on splenetic

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


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!