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[spleen] /splin/
a highly vascular, glandular, ductless organ, situated in humans at the cardiac end of the stomach, serving chiefly in the formation of mature lymphocytes, in the destruction of worn-out red blood cells, and as a reservoir for blood.
Obsolete. this organ conceived of as the seat of spirit and courage or of such emotions as mirth, ill humor, melancholy, etc.
ill humor, peevish temper, or spite.
Archaic. melancholy.
Obsolete. caprice.
Origin of spleen
1250-1300; Middle English < Latin splēn < Greek splḗn; akin to Sanskrit plīhan, Latin liēn spleen
Related forms
spleenish, adjective
unspleenish, adjective
unspleenishly, adverb
3. petulance, rancor, acrimoniousness; wrath, ire, anger. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spleen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Which speaks of an intemperance in the splenetic parenchyma; that is to say, the spleen.

  • And there's Saunders, who talks about nothing but his spleen.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • As you will; let us go indoors by all means, for this moon gives me the spleen.

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
  • On April 19, 1888, the spleen was removed, the wound healed by first intention.

    Histology of the Blood Paul Ehrlich
  • The most recent work on extirpation of the spleen for tumours is from Hartmann and Vasquez.

    Histology of the Blood Paul Ehrlich
British Dictionary definitions for spleen


a spongy highly vascular organ situated near the stomach in man. It forms lymphocytes, produces antibodies, aids in destroying worn-out red blood cells, and filters bacteria and foreign particles from the blood related adjectives lienal splenetic splenic
the corresponding organ in other animals
spitefulness or ill humour; peevishness: to vent one's spleen
(archaic) the organ in the human body considered to be the seat of the emotions
(archaic) another word for melancholy
(obsolete) whim; mood
Derived Forms
spleenish, spleeny, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French esplen, from Latin splēn, from Greek; related to Latin lien spleen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spleen

c.1300, from Old French esplen, from Latin splen, from Greek splen, from PIE *splegh- (cf. Sanskrit plihan-, Avestan sperezan, Armenian p'aicaln, Latin lien, Old Church Slavonic slezena, Lithuanian bluznis, Old Prussian blusne, Old Irish selg "spleen"). Regarded in medieval physiology as the seat of morose feelings and bad temper. Hence figurative sense of "violent ill-temper" (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spleen in Medicine

spleen (splēn)
A large, highly vascular lymphoid organ, lying to the left of the stomach below the diaphragm and serving to store blood, disintegrate old blood cells, filter foreign substances from the blood, and to produce lymphocytes.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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spleen in Science
An organ in vertebrate animals that in humans is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach. The spleen is mainly composed of lymph nodes and blood vessels. It filters the blood, stores red blood cells (erythrocytes) and destroys old ones, and produces white blood cells (lymphocytes).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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spleen in Culture

spleen definition

An organ in the lymphatic system, in the upper left part of the abdomen, that filters out harmful substances from the blood. The spleen also produces white blood cells, removes worn-out red blood cells from circulation, and maintains a reserve blood supply for the body.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with spleen


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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