Definition of taxis in US English:


nounPlural taxes

  • 1Surgery
    The restoration of displaced bones or organs by manual pressure alone.

    • ‘He sent for a surgeon, who attempted to reduce the hernia by the taxis.’
  • 2Biology
    A motion or orientation of a cell, organism, or part in response to an external stimulus.

    Compare with kinesis
    • ‘A taxis is a behavioural reaction where an animal moves directly towards (positive taxis) or away (negative taxis) from the source of the stimulus.’
  • 3Linguistics
    The systematic arrangement of linguistic units (phonemes, morphemes, words, phrases, or clauses) in linear sequence.

    • ‘The only remaining factor to which the difference in meaning between (1) and (2) can be ascribed is the arrangement of the morphemes (the taxis).’


Mid 18th century (in taxis (sense 1)): from Greek, literally ‘arrangement’, from tassein ‘arrange’. taxis (sense 2) dates from the late 19th century.