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

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 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, "The 2016 Election Was Just a Dry Run," 11 May 2020 Parlá is loose with his fields of color, but never splenetic. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "What José Parlá, JR and Kunle Martins Learned from Graffiti," 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, "The Field Guide to Tyranny," 16 Dec. 2019 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.

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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 11 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of splenetic

chiefly British, formal : very angry and annoyed

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