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[pan-kree-uh s, pang-] /ˈpæn kri əs, ˈpæŋ-/
noun, Anatomy, Zoology
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.
1570-80; < New Latin < Greek pánkreas sweetbread, equivalent to pan- pan- + kréas flesh, meat
Related forms
[pan-kree-at-ik, pang-] /ˌpæn kriˈæt ɪk, ˌpæŋ-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pancreas
  • Mouse finding hints that stemlike cells may yet be found in human pancreas.
  • So the pancreas must compensate by making more insulin and other proteins.
  • The pancreas is a large organ located behind the stomach.
  • Liver and pancreas tend to have a total recall on your sins.
  • The thyroid and the pancreas also can overproduce or underproduce chemicals, causing illness to occur.
  • The pancreas is located behind the liver and stomach.
  • Unlike carbohydrates made up of glucose, fructose does not stimulate the pancreas into producing insulin.
  • The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen that makes several enzymes and hormones, including the hormone insulin.
  • Trypsinogen is a substance that is normally produced in the pancreas and released into the small intestine.
  • The pancreas is located behind the liver and is where the hormone insulin is produced.
British Dictionary definitions for pancreas


a large elongated glandular organ, situated behind the stomach, that secretes insulin and pancreatic juice
Derived Forms
pancreatic (ˌpæŋkrɪˈætɪk) adjective
Word Origin
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
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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
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pancreas in Medicine

pancreas pan·cre·as (pāng'krē-əs, pān'-)
n. pl. pan·cre·a·ta (pān-krē'ə-tə)
A lobulated gland without a capsule, that extends from the concavity of the duodenum to the spleen, consists of a flattened head within the duodenal concavity, an elongated three-sided body extending across the abdomen, and a tail touching the spleen, and secretes insulin and glucagon internally and pancreatic juice externally into the intestine.

pan'cre·at'ic (pāng'krē-āt'ĭk, pān'-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pancreas in Science

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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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pancreas in Culture
pancreas [(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 American Heritage® 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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