• synonyms


[thal-uh-muh s]
noun, plural thal·a·mi [thal-uh-mahy] /ˈθæl əˌmaɪ/.
  1. Anatomy. the middle part of the diencephalon through which sensory impulses pass to reach the cerebral cortex.
  2. Botany. a receptacle or torus.
  3. Also called thalamium. an apartment for women in an ancient Greek house.
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Origin of thalamus

1695–1705; < New Latin; Latin: bedroom < Greek thálamos
Related formstha·lam·ic [thuh-lam-ik] /θəˈlæm ɪk/, adjectivetha·lam·i·cal·ly, adverbpost·tha·lam·ic, adjectivesub·tha·lam·ic, adjectivetrans·tha·lam·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thalamus

Historical Examples

  • Thalamaflorous, with petals and stamens inserted on the torus or Thalamus.

    The Elements of Botany

    Asa Gray

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for thalamus


noun plural -mi (-ˌmaɪ)
  1. either of the two contiguous egg-shaped masses of grey matter at the base of the brain
  2. both of these masses considered as a functional unit
  3. the receptacle or torus of a flower
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Derived Formsthalamic (θəˈlæmɪk), adjectivethalamically, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

thalamus in Medicine


n. pl. thal•a•mi (-mī′)
  1. 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.
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Related formstha•lamic (thə-lămĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

thalamus in Science


Plural thalami (thălə-mī′)
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

thalamus in Culture



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

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