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vent your spleen

Meaning: If you vent your spleen, you express your anger.

For example:

  • The company's shareholders were angry, and they used the annual general meeting as an opportunity to vent their spleen on the board members.

  • Amy felt she had been badly treated by the media, so she took the chance to vent her spleen during the interview.

Origin: The spleen is an organ in the body near the stomach. In European medicine from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, the spleen was thought to be the source of the "humours" that caused the emotion of anger. Therefore one could expel anger by "venting the spleen".

Quick Quiz:

The team's manager walked up to referee after the game and vented his spleen because he thought the referee had
  1. been very fair in his decisions
  2. given his team too many free kicks
  3. made bad decisions that caused his team to lose

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