• synonyms


[tey-luh s]
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noun, plural ta·li [tey-lahy] /ˈteɪ laɪ/. Anatomy.
  1. the uppermost bone of the proximal row of bones of the tarsus; anklebone.
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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]
noun, plural ta·lus·es.
  1. a slope.
  2. Geology. a sloping mass of rocky fragments at the base of a cliff.
  3. Fortification. the slope of the face of a work.
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Origin of talus2

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for talus


noun plural -li (-laɪ)
  1. the bone of the ankle that articulates with the leg bones to form the ankle jointNontechnical name: anklebone
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Word Origin

C18: from Latin: ankle


noun plural -luses
  1. geology another name for scree
  2. fortifications the sloping side of a wall
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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

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).

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

talus in Medicine


n. pl. ta•li (-lī′)
  1. The bone of the ankle that articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint.anklebone astragalus
  2. The ankle.
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Related formstalar (-lər) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

talus in Science


Plural tali (lī′)
  1. The bone of the ankle that articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint.
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Plural taluses
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.