tal·​on | \ˈta-lən \

Definition of talon 

1a : the claw of an animal and especially of a bird of prey

b : a finger or hand of a human being

2 : a part or object shaped like or suggestive of a heel or claw: such as

a : an ogee molding

b : the shoulder of the bolt of a lock on which the key acts to shoot the bolt

3a : cards laid aside in a pile in solitaire

b : stock sense 10c

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Other Words from talon

taloned \ ˈta-​lənd \ adjective

Examples of talon in a Sentence

The hawk gripped the mouse in its talons.

Recent Examples on the Web

Prior excavations amidst the human remains in the Cemetery of the Babies unearthed various items commonly associated with magic at the time: raven talons, toad bones, and bronze cauldrons filled with ash. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Fifth-century child’s skeleton shows evidence of “vampire burial”," 13 Oct. 2018 After all, when the two Top 40 fixtures first met last fall, Lopez pleaded to examine the hip-hop star’s signature razor-sharp talons up close. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez’s Next-Level “Dinero” Manicure Is Worth a Double Take at the Billboard Music Awards," 21 May 2018 With a vole in its talons, the hand-sized bird perched on a branch outside a wooden box nailed to the tree. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "During long summer days in Alaska, Boreal owls perform by daylight," 30 June 2018 Ebi says the eagle transferred the rabbit to its right talon and eventually let the fox go. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Epic tug-of-war between bald eagle and fox goes airborne," 23 May 2018 All three shows are big on female bonding and friendship while blasting the myth that women are always catty and are way too busy sharpening their talons to give a sister a hand. Karla Peterson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Meet the heroines of this summer's Must-See #MeToo TV," 29 June 2018 The 13 bald eagles were found lifeless on a Maryland farm more than two years ago, many with wings splayed, bodies intact, and talons clenched. Karin Brulliard And Dana Hedgpeth, baltimoresun.com, "Thirteen bald eagles were found dead in a field in Maryland. This is what killed them.," 20 June 2018 The boy suffered a puncture wound on his head, a cut near his eye, and other injuries from the bird's talons. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Aggressive squirrels drive Orange County park staff, visitors nuts," 23 May 2018 The eagle was eventually able to snatch the rabbit out of the fox’s mouth and into its talon. Fox News, "Eagle snatches fox holding rabbit in mouth in dramatic images," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'talon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of talon

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for talon

Middle English taloun heel, hind claw of a bird of prey, from Anglo-French talun, from Vulgar Latin *talon-, *talo, from Latin talus ankle, anklebone

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Dictionary Entries near talon

Talmud Torah





talonic acid


Statistics for talon

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for talon

The first known use of talon was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for talon



English Language Learners Definition of talon

: one of the sharp claws on the feet of some birds


tal·​on | \ˈta-lən \

Kids Definition of talon

: the claw of a bird of prey

Other Words from talon

taloned \ -​ənd \ adjective


tal·​on | \ˈtal-ən \

Medical Definition of talon 

: the crushing region of the crown of an upper molar

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Comments on talon

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


a private place of worship

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