from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Either of two muscles of the back of the neck, extending from the upper vertebrae to the base of the skull, that rotate and extend the head and neck.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A broad muscle running up the top part of the back of the neck.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A flat muscle of the back of the neck.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A broad muscle, extending from the upper part of the thorax, on the back and side of the neck, beneath the trapezius.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. either of two flat muscles that extend from the upper vertebrae to the base of the skull and serve to rotate or flex or extend the head and neck


New Latin splēnius, from Latin splēnium, patch, plaster (from its shape), from Greek splēnion, from splēn, spleen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Modern Latin, from Ancient Greek σπληνίον. (Wiktionary)


  • The contents of the larger posterior cervical triangle, formed by B, the sterno-mastoid before; 9, the splenius; and 8, the trapezius behind, and by the clavicle below, are the following mentioned structures -- viz.,

    Surgical Anatomy

  • The trapezius, the splenius, the scaleni, and the levator scapulæ muscle may also undergo shortening, along with their investing sheaths derived from the cervical fascia.

    Manual of Surgery Volume Second: Extremities—Head—Neck. Sixth Edition.


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