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[tahr-suh s]
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noun, plural tar·si [tahr-sahy, -see] /ˈtɑr saɪ, -si/.
  1. 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.
  2. the small plate of connective tissue along the border of an eyelid.
  3. tarsometatarsus.
  4. the distal part of the leg of an insect, usually subdivided in the adult into two to five segments.
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Origin of tarsus

1670–80; < New Latin < Greek tarsós flat of the foot


[tahr-suh s]
  1. a city in S Turkey, near the Mediterranean, on the Cydnus River: important seaport of ancient Cilicia; birthplace of Saint Paul.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for tarsus

bone, talus, anklebone, tarsus, astragalus

Examples from the Web for tarsus

Historical Examples of tarsus

  • Go and inquire for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.

    The Ministry of Intercession

    Andrew Murray

  • Claws: the claw or hook-like structures at the end of the foot or tarsus.

  • When the storm was over, Pericles ordered the sailors to make for Tarsus.

    Tales from Shakespeare

    Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb

  • She is not dead at Tarsus as she should have been by the savage Dionysia.

    Tales from Shakespeare

    Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb

  • Was not Saul of Tarsus converted from unbelief by a similar fright?

British Dictionary definitions for tarsus


noun plural -si (-saɪ)
  1. 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
  2. the dense connective tissue supporting the free edge of each eyelid
  3. the part of an insect's leg that lies distal to the tibia
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Word Origin for tarsus

C17: from New Latin, from Greek tarsos flat surface, instep


  1. 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)
  2. 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
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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 tarsus


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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tarsus in Medicine


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.tarsal plate
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tarsus in Science


Plural tarsi (tärsī, -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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.