noun \ˈfā-ˌlaŋ(k)s, British usually ˈfa-\

: a large group of people, animals, or things often placed close together

plural pha·lanx·es or pha·lan·ges \fə-ˈlan-(ˌ)jēz, fā-, ˈfā-ˌ, British usually fa-\

Full Definition of PHALANX

:  a body of heavily armed infantry in ancient Greece formed in close deep ranks and files; broadly :  a body of troops in close array
plural phalanges :  one of the digital bones of the hand or foot of a vertebrate
plural usually phalanxes
a :  a massed arrangement of persons, animals, or things <a phalanx of armed guards>
b :  an organized body of persons <a phalanx of lawyers>

Examples of PHALANX

  1. A solid phalanx of armed guards stood in front of the castle.
  2. She had to go through a phalanx of television cameras.

Origin of PHALANX

Latin phalang-, phalanx, from Greek, battle line, digital bone, literally, log — more at balk
First Known Use: 1553

Other Military Terms

bivouac, logistics, petard, salient, sally, supernumerary, tactical

Rhymes with PHALANX


noun \ˈfā-ˌlaŋ(k)s, British usually ˈfal-ˌaŋ(k)s\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural pha·lan·ges \fə-ˈlan-(ˌ)jēz, fā-, ˈfā-ˌ, British usually fal-ˈan-\

Medical Definition of PHALANX

: any of the digital bones of the hand or foot distal to the metacarpus or metatarsus of a vertebrate that in humans are three to each finger and toe with the exception of the thumb and big toe which have only two each

Illustration of PHALANX


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Tactical formation consisting of a block of heavily armed infantry standing shoulder to shoulder in files several ranks deep. First used by the Sumerians and fully developed by the ancient Greeks, it is viewed today as the beginning of European military development. The Greek city-states adopted a phalanx eight men deep during the 7th century BC. The spectacle of Greek hoplites marching forward in solid ranks was frightening to the enemy, but the phalanx was difficult to maneuver and easily thrown into confusion if its ranks were broken.


Next Word in the Dictionary: Phalaris
Previous Word in the Dictionary: phalanstery
All Words Near: phalanx

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up phalanx? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).