splenetic

Anyone who's splenetic is very cranky and even a little mean. If you want to have fun at the bowling alley, don't invite your splenetic cousin to come along — he always ends up hurting someone's feelings.

Splenetic was originally used to describe anything having to do with the spleen, the blood-filtering organ in human bodies. Western medicine once attributed both physical health and personality to four "bodily humours," one of which was black bile, thought to be produced by the spleen. Doctors back then believed that black bile made people moody and cranky — in other words, splenetic. Though medicine has changed dramatically, you can still use this word for irritable, bad-tempered people.

Definitions of splenetic
  1. adjective
    of or relating to the spleen
    synonyms: lienal, splenic
  2. adjective
    very irritable
    synonyms: bristly, prickly, waspish
    ill-natured
    having an irritable and unpleasant disposition
Word Family
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