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[thal-uh-muh s] /ˈθæl ə məs/
noun, plural thalami
[thal-uh-mahy] /ˈθæl əˌmaɪ/ (Show IPA)
Anatomy. the middle part of the diencephalon through which sensory impulses pass to reach the cerebral cortex.
Botany. a receptacle or torus.
Also called thalamium. an apartment for women in an ancient Greek house.
Origin of thalamus
1695-1705; < New Latin; Latin: bedroom < Greek thálamos
Related forms
[thuh-lam-ik] /θəˈlæm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
thalamically, adverb
postthalamic, adjective
subthalamic, adjective
transthalamic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for thalamus
Historical Examples
  • Thalamaflorous, with petals and stamens inserted on the torus or thalamus.

  • About one fourth of the genera have numerous stamens or numerous carpels, or both, springing naturally from the thalamus.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters
  • The adventitious organs appeared as if they were developments from the thalamus—a kind of foliaceous disc, in fact.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters
  • The thalamus and corpus striatum are called together, the great inferior ganglion of the brain.

  • Ganglia geniculata are found for the first time in connexion with the optic tracts in the lower part of the thalamus.

  • The cerebellum is a subsequent outgrowth from the medulla, as is the cerebrum and olfactive166 lobes from the thalamus.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • These serve as nectaries, s, the whorl of stamens inserted on the thalamus and surrounding the pistil.

  • There is some evidence that these adjustments occur in that part of the brain called the thalamus.

    Psychology Robert S. Woodworth
British Dictionary definitions for thalamus


noun (pl) -mi (-ˌmaɪ)
either of the two contiguous egg-shaped masses of grey matter at the base of the brain
both of these masses considered as a functional unit
the receptacle or torus of a flower
Derived Forms
thalamic (θəˈlæmɪk) adjective
thalamically, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Latin, Greek thalamos inner room; probably related to Greek tholos vault
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 thalamus

1753, "the receptacle of a flower," Modern Latin, from Latin thalamus "inner chamber," from Greek thalamos "inner chamber, bedroom," related to thalame "den, lair," tholos "vault, vaulted building." Used since 1756 of a part of the forebrain where a nerve appears to originate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thalamus in Medicine

thalamus thal·a·mus (thāl'ə-məs)
n. pl. thal·a·mi (-mī')
A large ovoid mass of gray matter that forms the larger dorsal subdivision of the diencephalon and is located medial to the internal capsule and to the body and tail of the caudate nucleus. It functions in the relay of sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex.

tha·lam'ic (thə-lām'ĭk) adj.
tha·lam'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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thalamus in Science
Plural thalami (thāl'ə-mī')
The part of the vertebrate brain that lies at the rear of the forebrain. It relays sensory information to the cerebral cortex and regulates the perception of touch, pain, and temperature.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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thalamus in Culture
thalamus [(thal-uh-muhs)]

The part of the brain that coordinates nerve impulses relating to the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and taste.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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