One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A group of small bones between the main part of the hindlimb and the metatarsus in terrestrial vertebrates. The seven bones of the human tarsus form the ankle and upper part of the foot. They are the talus, calcaneus, navicular, and cuboid, and the three cuneiform bones.
- ‘An influential contribution is that of Szalay, who linked Australian taxa to one group among the South American radiation, based on structure of the tarsus.’
- ‘Actually, it turns out that the ferrungulate tarsus is a fairly apt study for the understanding of ankles, assuming that one is apt to study such things at all.’
- 1.1Zoology The shank or tarsometatarsus of the leg of a bird or reptile.
- ‘From 1983 to 1997, trapping teams captured adults at nest sites and banded each unmarked bird with a numbered band on the right tarsus and an alpha-numeric color band on the left tarsus.’
- ‘They show adaptations for underwater swimming, including flattened tarsi and humeri, and shorter wings and higher wing-loading than most other petrels.’
- ‘Preserved bones of the tarsus include the astragalus, calcaneum, and medial centrale.’
- ‘Tarsus color turns black to red between yearling and adult, which suggests that the appearance of the tarsus could be involved in signal of status.’
- ‘As with enlarged leg musculature, larger tarsi may be linked to improved adeptness at locomotion for more effective foraging and predator evasion.’
- 1.2Zoology The foot or fifth joint of the leg of an insect or other arthropod, typically consisting of several small segments and ending in a claw.
paw, forepaw, hind paw, hoof, trotter, padView synonyms
- ‘A cockroach leg is made up of a number of distinct segments, arranged along the proximo-distal axis in the order coxa, femur, tibia, tarsus.’
- ‘It was noted that the contact surface of the tarsi of the beetle Hemisphaerota cyanea (Chrysomelidae, Cassidinae) is water-repellent.’
- ‘Using her senses of sight and smell, a female butterfly detects a potential host plant from a distance but makes a final determination only after alighting on a leaf and tasting it with the receptors on her tarsi, or feet.’
- ‘In addition to the pretarsus, tarsus, tibia and femur, insects have two proximal (closer to the body) segments not shown in the figure.’
- ‘Both sexes have a pair of ‘spurs’ on each hind leg where the tibia, or fourth leg segment, joins the tarsus, or foot.’
2A thin sheet of fibrous connective tissue which supports the edge of each eyelid.
- ‘A wedge of skin, orbicularis, and tarsus is removed parallel to the lid margin.’
Late Middle English: modern Latin, from Greek tarsos ‘flat of the foot, the eyelid’.
An ancient city in southern Turkey, the capital of Cilicia and the birthplace of St Paul. It is now a market town.
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