One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural taluses, Plural taliAnatomy
The large bone in the ankle that articulates with the tibia of the leg and the calcaneum and navicular bone of the foot.Also called astragalus
- ‘The physician identifies the space between the anterior border of the medial malleolus and the medial border of the tibialis anterior tendon and palpates this space for the articulation of the talus and tibia.’
- ‘The tarsal tunnel, which is located on the medial aspect of the posterior heel, is bounded by the flexor retinaculum and the medial surfaces of the talus and calcaneus.’
- ‘In this series of operations, we used suture anchor devices to fix the free ends of the split patellar tendon to the talus and the calcaneus.’
- ‘The ankle joint is formed by the articulation of the talus with the tibia and fibula.’
- ‘Because of the bony articulation between the medial malleolus and the talus, medial ankle sprains are less common than lateral sprains.’
Late 16th century: from Latin, literally ‘ankle, heel’.
nounPlural taluses, Plural tali
1A sloping mass of rock fragments at the foot of a cliff.
- ‘A ewe, two lambs, and a young ram picked their way up a talus slope until they disappeared by blending perfectly into the surrounding rocks.’
- ‘The stand is surrounded on both sides by steep slopes of sandstone talus.’
- ‘From the talus slopes nearby, she'll dig out army cutworm moths, which are about 60 percent fat.’
- ‘Scrambling up the talus slope, the cave entrance is easy to spot on the right side.’
- ‘Their typical breeding habitat is rocky talus and snowfields near sedge and grassy areas.’
- ‘Litters are born in the talus (rock piles) and weaned at 3-4 weeks after birth.’
- ‘In contrast, the talus, or rock rubble, accumulated beneath cool, north-facing cliffs sometimes provides a very different kind of habitat, one that biologists call algific talus slope, or simply algific slope.’
- ‘These wrens breed in rocky habitats, such as canyons, coulees, outcroppings, and talus slopes in the steppe and dry forests.’
- ‘When I finally stepped off the glacier onto the rock ridge - safe - my legs gave out from under me and I crumpled into the talus.’
- ‘Rain cascades down glacier carved valleys, gathering with the steady, icy melt to roam through the talus and house-sized boulders.’
- ‘We clawed our way up a high mountain ridge covered in fine, shifting talus and on the far side got caught in a thunderstorm.’
- ‘Protection of algific talus slopes may help prevent the need for threatened or endangered status for these other snails and plants like the golden saxifrage.’
- ‘Along these exposed fault scarps, 500 m or more high, not only can the nature of oceanic crust be examined, but complex patterns of fault breccias, talus, and lavas can be discerned.’
- ‘In these situations the free face can extend to sea level and talus slopes will be absent.’
- ‘There the long crest of the mountain broke sharply into a talus slope that, for the uppermost hundred meters, was almost a sheer cliff.’
- ‘Another scientist reported grizzlies flipping over rocks to lick up army cutworm moths, a fat-bodied insect that hides by day in the high-altitude talus slopes in the Rockies.’
- ‘We stepped gingerly onto the talus and then froze immediately when we heard yelling below: We were kicking rocks down onto other teams.’
- ‘It was decided that Paul would be slid down the talus slope in a stokes litter, and we all pitched in to wrestle him down.’
- ‘The more extreme of these were found within the fault zones separating adjacent basalt blocks, or were on north slopes below steep areas of consolidated talus.’
- ‘Above them, the rest of us began negotiating the long, steep descent through talus and boulder fields, sun shining down on our slow-moving band now that the storm had followed ‘the Lads’ downslope.’
- 1.1 The sloping side of an earthwork, or of a wall that tapers to the top.
- ‘The talus is an architectural feature of some late medieval castles, especially prevalent in crusader constructions.’
- ‘Large taluses were added to the southwest and east sides to strengthen the outer wall and to make it earthquake resistant.’
- ‘Soil loss and runoff were evaluated over a 2-year period (2001-2002) on the taluses of terraces, in this zone of intense subtropical orchard cultivation.’
Mid 17th century: from French, of unknown origin.
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