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.

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin splēn < Greek splḗn; akin to Sanskrit plīhan, Latin liēn spleen

spleenish, adjective
unspleenish, adjective
unspleenishly, adverb

3. petulance, rancor, acrimoniousness; wrath, ire, anger.
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World English Dictionary
spleen (spliːn)
1.  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 bloodRelated: lienal, splenetic, splenic
2.  the corresponding organ in other animals
3.  spitefulness or ill humour; peevishness: to vent one's spleen
4.  archaic the organ in the human body considered to be the seat of the emotions
5.  archaic another word for melancholy
6.  obsolete whim; mood
Related: lienal, splenetic, splenic
[C13: from Old French esplen, from Latin splēn, from Greek; related to Latin lien spleen]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. esplen, from L. splen, from Gk. splen, from PIE *splegh- (cf. Skt. plihan-, Avestan sperezan, Armenian p'aicaln, L. lien, O.C.S. slezena, Lith. bluznis, O.Prus. blusne, O.Ir. selg "spleen"). Regarded in medieval physiology as the seat of morose feelings and bad temper. Hence fig. sense
of "violent ill-temper" (1594).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spleen   (splēn)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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 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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see vent one's spleen.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Symptoms include anemia, fatigue, and enlarged liver and spleen.
The spleen is an organ that is a part of the lymph system.
Scientists have found that the spleen plays a more important role in the body's
  defense system than anyone suspected.
As a result, the liver and spleen try to make some of these blood cells.
Idioms & Phrases
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