c. 1300, non-glandular organ of the abdomen, from Old French esplen, from Latin splen, from Greek splen "the milt, spleen," from PIE *spelgh- "spleen, milt" (source also of Sanskrit plihan-, Avestan sperezan, Armenian p'aicaln, Latin lien, Old Church Slavonic slezena, Lithuanian blužnis, Old Prussian blusne, Old Irish selg "spleen").
Regarded in old medicine as the seat of morose feelings and bad temper. Hence figurative sense of "violent ill-temper" (1580s, implied in spleenful); and thence spleenless "free from anger, ill-humor, malice, or spite" (1610s).
updated on December 20, 2018
Dictionary entries near spleen