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[tey-luh s] /ˈteɪ ləs/
noun, plural tali
[tey-lahy] /ˈteɪ laɪ/ (Show IPA).
the uppermost bone of the proximal row of bones of the tarsus; anklebone.
Origin of talus1
First recorded in 1685-95, talus is from the Latin word tālus ankle, anklebone, die. See tassel


[tey-luh s, tal-uh s] /ˈteɪ ləs, ˈtæl əs/
noun, plural taluses.
a slope.
Geology. a sloping mass of rocky fragments at the base of a cliff.
Fortification. the slope of the face of a work.
1635-45; < French: pseudo-learned alteration of Old French talu slope < Latin talūtium gold-bearing slope or talus (Vulgar Latin: slope), perhaps of Iberian origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for talus
Historical Examples
  • At the foot of the talus he stopped to listen, wondering how close behind him the water might be.

    Space Prison Tom Godwin
  • talus, the nephew of Ddalus by his sister, is said in the viij.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
  • Valley of the Rhone, with the waterfall of Sallenches, showing a talus of debris 261 27.

    The Beauties of Nature Sir John Lubbock
  • Might they not belong merely to the talus of this bank of boulder-clay?

  • The snow is in this case but a substitute for a normal mass of talus.

  • But most men thought it must be talus, the great giant who guarded Crete.

    Children of the Dawn Elsie Finnimore Buckley
  • Other burials were in the open or in the talus slopes below the caves.

  • Here also it grows among the talus at the foot of limestone cliffs.

    How to Know the Ferns Frances Theodora Parsons
  • Then talus said, ‘Who are you, strange maiden, and where is this ichor of youth?’

    The Heroes Charles Kingsley
  • And talus tried to leap up, crying, ‘You have betrayed me, false witch-maiden!’

    The Heroes Charles Kingsley
British Dictionary definitions for talus


noun (pl) -li (-laɪ)
the bone of the ankle that articulates with the leg bones to form the ankle joint Nontechnical name anklebone
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: ankle


noun (pl) -luses
(geology) another name for scree
(fortifications) the sloping side of a wall
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Latin talūtium slope, perhaps of Iberian origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for talus

"anklebone," 1690s, from Latin talus "ankle, anklebone, knucklebone" (plural tali), related to Latin taxillus "a small die, cube" (they originally were made from the knucklebones of animals).


"slope," 1640s, from French talus (16c.), from Old French talu "slope" (12c.), probably from Gallo-Romance *talutum, from Latin talutium "a slope or outcrop of rock debris," possibly of Celtic origin (cf. Breton tal "forehead, brow").

OED, however, suggests derivation from root of talus (1) in the sense of "heel" which developed in its Romanic descendants. Mainly used of military earthwork at first; meaning "sloping mass of rocky fragments that has fallen from a cliff" is first recorded 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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talus in Medicine

talus ta·lus (tā'ləs)
n. pl. ta·li (-lī')

  1. The bone of the ankle that articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint. Also called anklebone, astragalus.

  2. The ankle.

ta'ler (-lər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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talus in Science
talus 1
Plural tali (tā'lī')
The bone of the ankle that articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint.
talus 2
Plural taluses
Rock fragments that have accumulated at the base of a cliff or slope. ◇ The concave slope formed by such an accumulation of rock fragments is called a talus slope.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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