[pan-kree-uh s, pang-]
See more synonyms for pancreas on
noun Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. a gland, situated near the stomach, that secretes a digestive fluid into the intestine through one or more ducts and also secretes the hormone insulin.

Origin of pancreas

1570–80; < New Latin < Greek pánkreas sweetbread, equivalent to pan- pan- + kréas flesh, meat
Related formspan·cre·at·ic [pan-kree-at-ik, pang-] /ˌpæn kriˈæt ɪk, ˌpæŋ-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pancreas

Contemporary Examples of pancreas

  • The shot damaged his liver, lungs, pancreas and spleen and has left him paralyzed from the waist down.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Childhood Denied

    Yousef Munayyer

    October 2, 2013

  • The internal injuries cost him his spleen and part of his pancreas, but he could skate without those.

  • Eventually Jobs did have surgery, but by then it was too late—the cancer had spread beyond his pancreas.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Steve Jobs, Unvarnished

    Dan Lyons

    October 24, 2011

  • Steve Jobs was right to be optimistic when, in 2004, he announced that he had cancer in his pancreas.

  • The surgery removes the right side of the pancreas, the gallbladder, and parts of the stomach, bile duct, and small intestine.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jobs’s Unorthodox Treatment

    Sharon Begley

    October 6, 2011

Historical Examples of pancreas

British Dictionary definitions for pancreas


  1. a large elongated glandular organ, situated behind the stomach, that secretes insulin and pancreatic juice
Derived Formspancreatic (ˌpæŋkrɪˈætɪk), adjective

Word Origin for pancreas

C16: via New Latin from Greek pankreas, from pan- + kreas flesh
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

Word Origin and History for pancreas

1570s, from Latinized form of Greek pankreas "sweetbread (pancreas as food), pancreas," literally "entirely flesh," from pan- "all" (see pan-) + kreas "flesh" (see raw), probably on notion of homogeneous substance of the organ.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pancreas in Medicine


n. pl. pan•cre•a•ta (păng-krēə-tə)
  1. A lobulated gland without a capsule, extending from the concavity of the duodenum to the spleen, consisting of a flattened head within the duodenal concavity, an elongated three-sided body extending across the abdomen, and a tail touching the spleen, and secreting insulin and glucagon internally and pancreatic juice externally into the intestine.
Related formspan′cre•atic (păng′krē-ătĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

pancreas in Science


  1. A long, irregularly shaped gland in vertebrate animals that is located behind the stomach and is part of the digestive system. It secretes hormones (insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin) into the bloodstream and digestive enzymes into the small intestine or gut. The pancreas also secretes sodium bicarbonate, which protects the lining of the intestine by neutralizing acids from the stomach.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

pancreas in Culture


[(pang-kree-uhs, pan-kree-uhs)]

A gland behind the stomach that functions in both the endocrine system and the digestive system. Its endocrine function involves the secretion into the bloodstream of insulin, which regulates the level of sugars in the blood. As part of the digestive system, the pancreas secretes into the small intestine a fluid containing enzymes that is used in the digestion of all foods.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.