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[tahr-suh s] /ˈtɑr səs/
noun, plural tarsi
[tahr-sahy, -see] /ˈtɑr saɪ, -si/ (Show IPA)
Anatomy, Zoology. the bones of the proximal segment of the foot; the bones between the tibia and the metatarsus, contributing to the construction of the ankle joint.
the small plate of connective tissue along the border of an eyelid.
the distal part of the leg of an insect, usually subdivided in the adult into two to five segments.
Origin of tarsus
1670-80; < New Latin < Greek tarsós flat of the foot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for tarsi


noun (pl) -si (-saɪ)
the bones of the ankle and heel, collectively
  1. the corresponding part in other mammals and in amphibians and reptiles
  2. another name for tarsometatarsus
the dense connective tissue supporting the free edge of each eyelid
the part of an insect's leg that lies distal to the tibia
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin, from Greek tarsos flat surface, instep


a city in SE Turkey, on the Tarsus River: site of ruins of ancient Tarsus, capital of Cilicia, and birthplace of St Paul. Pop: 231 000 (2005 est)
a river in SE Turkey, in Cilicia, rising in the Taurus Mountains and flowing south past Tarsus to the Mediterranean. Length: 153 km (95 miles) Ancient name Cydnus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for tarsi



the ankle bones collectively, 1670s, Modern Latin, from Greek tarsos "ankle, sole of the foot, rim of the eyelid," originally "flat surface, especially for drying," from PIE root *ters- "to dry" (cf. Greek teresesthai "to be or become dry," tersainein "to make dry;" Latin terra "land, ground, soil," torrere "dry up, parch;" see terrain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tarsi in Medicine

tarsus tar·sus (tär'səs)
n. pl. tar·si (-sī)

  1. The area of articulation between the foot and the leg, comprising the seven bones of the instep: the talus, calcaneus, navicular, three cuneiform, and cuboid bones.

  2. The fibrous plate that supports and shapes the edges of the eyelids. Also called tarsal plate.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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tarsi in Science
Plural tarsi (tär'sī, -sē)
  1. The group of seven bones lying between the leg and the metatarsals and forming part of the ankle.

  2. The group of bones lying between the leg and metatarsals in the hind feet in some vertebrates, such as dinosaurs and birds.

  3. A fibrous plate that supports and shapes the edge of the eyelid.

  4. The lower part of the leg of an arthropod, usually divided into segments.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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