Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Etymology 1[edit]

From spleen +‎ -ful.



spleenful (comparative more spleenful, superlative most spleenful)

  1. Full of spleen; spiteful.
    • 17th C., John Dryden (1631-1700), The Poetical Works of John Dryden, Vol I[1]:
      The spleenful Pigeons never could create A prince more proper to revenge their hate: Indeed, more proper to revenge, than save; A king, whom in his wrath the Almighty gave: For all the grace the landlord had allow'd, 1200 But made the Buzzard and the Pigeons proud; Gave time to fix their friends, and to seduce the crowd.
    • 1893, Ernest Dowson and Arthur Moore, A Comedy of Masks[2]:
      His fluency was as remarkable as ever, and at first as spleenful; by-and-by his outrageous mood gave way, and, in response to some of Rainham's adroit thrusts, he condescended to stand on his defence.
    • 1920, Various, Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 158, April 28, 1920[3]:
      Miss MARY JERROLD was just the perfect BARRIE mother (of Mary Rose). Mr. ARTHUR WHITBY'S parson, Mr. NORMAN FORBES' squire, Miss JEAN CADELL'S housekeeper, left no chinks in their armour for a critic's spleenful arrow.

Etymology 2[edit]

spleen +‎ -ful



  1. A quantity of invective.
    • 1970, New York Times Saturday Review of Books and Art - Volume 1, page 2:
      Wyndham Lewis is equipped for his task with an amazing vocabulary of diatribe and derision, a spleenful of gall, and sense for the absurd — the monstrous, the Gargantuan, the preposterously incongruous— which, when disciplined, makes his best passages uproariously effective.
    • 2002, Ali Catterall, Simon Wells, Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties, page 209:
      On a sleepless odyssey through the capital's nightspots, cafes, office blocks and bedroom floors, Johnny (something between a slice of John Lydon, and a dose of Mark E. Smith) vents a spleenful of bile on whomever he encounters.
  2. More than one can take.
    • 2002, The Missouri Review - Volume 25, page 163:
      But suddenly, inexplicably, I've had a spleenful of it, and I'm going for the kid.