phalanx

play
noun pha·lanx \ˈfā-ˌlaŋ(k)s, British usually ˈfa-\

Definition of phalanx

plural

phalanxes

or

phalanges

play \fə-ˈlan-(ˌ)jēz, fā-, ˈfā-ˌ, British usually fa-\
  1. 1 :  a body of heavily armed infantry in ancient Greece formed in close deep ranks and files; broadly :  a body of troops in close array

  2. 2 plural phalanges :  one of the digital bones of the hand or foot of a vertebrate

  3. 3 plural usually phalanxes a :  a massed arrangement of persons, animals, or things a phalanx of armed guardsb :  an organized body of persons a phalanx of lawyers

phalanx was our Word of the Day on 07/09/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of phalanx in a Sentence

  1. A solid phalanx of armed guards stood in front of the castle.

  2. She had to go through a phalanx of television cameras.

Did You Know?

The original sense of "phalanx" refers to a military formation that was used in ancient warfare and consisted of a tight block of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder, several rows deep, often with shields joined. The word phalanx comes from the Greeks, though they were not the only ones who used this formation. The Greek term literally means "log" and was used for both this line of battle and for a bone in a finger or toe. The word and its senses passed into Latin and then were adopted into English in the 16th century. These days, a "phalanx" can be any arranged mass, whether of persons, animals, or things, or a body of people organized in a particular effort.

Origin and Etymology of phalanx

Latin phalang-, phalanx, from Greek, battle line, digital bone, literally, log — more at balk


First Known Use: 1553


PHALANX Defined for English Language Learners

phalanx

play
noun

Definition of phalanx for English Language Learners

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


Medical Dictionary

phalanx

play play
noun pha·lanx \ˈfā-ˌlaŋ(k)s, British usually ˈfal-ˌaŋ(k)s\

Medical Definition of phalanx

plural

phalanges

\fə-ˈlan-(ˌ)jēz, fā-, ˈfā-ˌ, British usually fal-ˈan-\play
  1. :  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



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