tal·​on | \ ˈta-lən How to pronounce talon (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from talon

taloned \ ˈta-​lənd How to pronounce taloned (audio) \ adjective

Examples of talon in a Sentence

The hawk gripped the mouse in its talons.

Recent Examples on the Web

For every lion there’s a griffin — a lion’s body fused with an eagle’s head, wings and sometimes talons — and for every pelican, a fire-breathing dragon. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Unicorns are just one of the wild rides in the Getty’s marvelous ‘Book of Beasts’," 23 July 2019 The eagle has a set of golf clubs in its talons instead of the traditional seal’s clutch of arrows. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Somebody screwed up: Fake seal displayed at Trump event," 25 July 2019 It was immediately accepted, and soon an olive branch and arrows (representing peace and war, respectively) were included in the eagle's talons. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Our national symbol is a soaring conservation success story," 3 July 2019 But Fox warns that cornering or chasing the bird can trigger its defenses: sharp talons and a fierce jump. Scottie Andrew And Katherine Dillinger, CNN, "There's an emu on the loose in North Carolina, and nobody's been quick enough to catch it," 1 Aug. 2019 The real seal has a bald eagle clutching arrows in one set of talons and an olive branch in the other. NBC News, "Trump gave speech in front of hoax presidential seal," 25 July 2019 Instead of arrows and olives branches clutched in their talons, a closer look reveals two eagles holding a set of golf clubs on one side and a pile of cash on another. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Trump stands in front of fake U.S. presidential seal that resembles Russian symbol," 25 July 2019 Its left talons, rather than clasping 13 arrows, appear to clutch a set of golf clubs. Reis Thebault, The Denver Post, "How Donald Trump ended up in front of a presidential seal doctored to include a Russian symbol," 25 July 2019 Beware the talons Command module pilot Mike Collins did most of the design work for the Apollo 11 insignia. Jamie Turner, cleveland.com, "11 things you might not know about Apollo 11 and the Space Race: Apollo 11 at 50," 17 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about talon

Dictionary Entries near talon

Talmud Torah





talonic acid


Statistics for talon

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for talon

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce talon (audio) \

Kids Definition of talon

: the claw of a bird of prey

Other Words from talon

taloned \ -​ənd \ adjective


tal·​on | \ ˈtal-ən How to pronounce talon (audio) \

Medical Definition of talon

: the crushing region of the crown of an upper molar

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on talon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with talon

Spanish Central: Translation of talon

Nglish: Translation of talon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of talon for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about talon

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).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!