Definition of splenius in US English:


(also splenius muscle)

nounPlural splenii

  • Any of two pairs of muscles attached to the vertebrae in the neck and upper back that draw back the head.

    • ‘Attached to the mastoid process are the mm. sternocleidomastoideus, splenius capitis, and longissimus capitis.’
    • ‘Rhomboideus-occipitalis passes between trapezius and splenius to reach the occipital bone.’
    • ‘The patient underwent magnetic resonance imaging with contrast, which showed the mass to be well circumscribed and located between the right splenius and semispinalis cervicis muscles.’
    • ‘Atlantomastoideus may also have a connection with splenius capitis, a union more difficult to explain embryologically.’
    • ‘The splenius represents a superficial prolongation of the lateral column of muscle to the head.’


Mid 18th century: modern Latin, from Greek splēnion ‘bandage’.