Phalanx
Anatomically, any one of the bones in the fingers or toes. (The plural of phalanx is phalanges.) There are 3 phalanges (the proximal, middle, and proximal phalanx) in most of the fingers and toes. However, the thumb and large toe have only two phalanges which accounts for their being shorter. A "phalanx" in ancient Greece was a military formation composed of heavily armed troops in close deep ranks. The soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, several rows deep, often with their shields joined. A phalanx was a formidable group that was difficult to penetrate. The bones in the fingers and toes were first called "phalanges" by the Greek philosopher-scientist Aristotle (384-322 BC) because they are arranged in ranks suggesting the military formation.
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1. [NA] One of the long bones of the digits, 14 in number for each hand or foot, two for the thumb or great toe, and three each for the other four digits; designated as proximal, middle, and distal, beginning from the metacarpus. 2. One of a number of cuticular plates, arranged in several rows, on the surface of the spiral organ (of Corti), which are the heads of the outer row of pillar cells and of phalangeal cells; between them are the free ends of the hair cells. [L. fr. G. p. (-ang-), line of soldiers, bone between two joints of the fingers and toes]
- distal p. of foot [TA] small, relatively flat bone of the toes underlying the nail bed, each of which bears a tuberosity on its distal plantar aspect from which connective tissue strands (skin ligaments) radiate through the pulp; the bases of the phalanges of the lateral four toes articulate proximally with the heads of middle phalanges; whereas that of the great toe articulates with a proximal p.. SYN: p. distalis pedis [TA].
- distal p. of hand [TA] small, spade-shaped bone in the ends of the fingers underlying the nail bed, each of which bears a tuberosity on its distal palmar aspect from which connective tissue strands (skin ligaments) radiate through the pulp; the bases of the phalanges of the medial four fingers articulate proximally with the heads of middle phalanges; that of the thumb articulates with a proximal p.. SYN: p. distalis manus [TA].
- p. distalis manus [TA] SYN: distal p. of hand.
- p. distalis pedis [TA] SYN: distal p. of foot.
- p. media pedis et manus [TA] SYN: middle phalanges of foot and hand.
- middle phalanges of foot and hand [TA] the small, long bone in the middle of the lateral four toes and medial four fingers, lying between and articulating with a distal and a proximal p.. SYN: p. media pedis et manus [TA].
- proximal p. of foot [TA] the relatively larger bone of the toes that articulates proximally with the head of a metatarsal; those of the lateral four toes articulate distally with a middle p.; that of the great toe articulates distally with a distal p.. SYN: p. proximalis pedis [TA].
- proximal p. of hand [TA] the relatively larger bone of the fingers that articulates proximally with the head of a metacarpal; those of the medial four fingers articulate distally with a middle p.; that of the thumb articulates distally with a distal p.. SYN: p. proximalis manus [TA].
- p. proximalis manus [TA] SYN: proximal p. of hand.
- p. proximalis pedis [TA] SYN: proximal p. of foot.
- tufted p. one of the terminal phalanges of the fingers in acromegaly; it has an expanded extremity resembling a sheaf of wheat.
- ungual p. the distal p. of each of the digits; so called because of the flattened tuberosity at its termination that supports the nail.

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pha·lanx 'fā-.laŋ(k)s, Brit usu 'fal-.aŋ(k)s n, pl pha·lan·ges fə-'lan-(.)jēz, fā-, 'fā-., Brit usu fal-'an- 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

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n.

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pha·lanx (faґlanks) pl. phalanґges [L., from Gr. “a line or array of soldiers”] 1. [TA] any of the bones of the fingers or toes; see ossa digitorum manus and ossa digitorum pedis, under os. 2. any one of a set of plates (made up of supporting cells, q.v.) which are disposed in rows and make up the reticular membrane of the organ of Corti.

Phalanges of the (A), hand (palmar view) and (B), foot (superior view).


Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Phalanx — (From Ancient Greek polytonic| ( finger )) can have many meanings, as the original Greek also did: The Greek meaning was one of a military formation, it consisted of four sides resembling a rectangle. For the most part this strategy worked but… …   Wikipedia

  • Phalanx — Pha lanx, n.; pl. {Phalanxes}, L. {Phalanges}. [L., from Gr. ?.] 1. (Gr. Antiq.) A body of heavy armed infantry formed in ranks and files close and deep. There were several different arrangements, the phalanx varying in depth from four to twenty… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Phalanx — Sf geschlossene Schlachtreihe erw. bildg. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. phalanx, dieses aus gr. phálanx, eigentlich Baumstamm, Block . So bezeichnet wurde die Schlachtreihe der griechischen Fußkämpfer.    Ebenso nndl. falanx, ne. phalanx …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • phalanx — (n.) 1550s, from Gk. phalanx (gen. phalangos) line of battle, battle array, also finger or toe bone, originally round piece of wood, trunk, log, of unknown origin, perhaps from PIE root *bhelg plank, beam (Cf. O.E. balca balk; see BALK (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Phalanx — »Schlachtreihe; geschlossene Front«: Das Fremdwort wurde im 18. Jh. aus gleichbed. lat. phalanx entlehnt, das seinerseits aus griech. phálagx »Schlachtreihe« stammt. Das griech. Wort ist mit seiner eigentlichen Bedeutung »Walze; Balken,… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • phalanx — [fā′laŋks΄, fal′aŋks΄] n. pl. phalanxes; also, and for PHALANX 5 always, phalanges [fə lan′jēz΄] [L < Gr, line of battle, bone between fingers, orig., log < IE base * bhel , log > BALK] 1. an ancient military formation of infantry in… …   English World dictionary

  • Phalanx — (gr.), 1) ursprünglich u. schon bei Homer die Schlachtordnung in geschlossener Linie, wo die Krieger nach Stämmen od. Geschlechtern in der Fronte standen u. nach Muth u. Kraft sich hinter einander reiheten. Später wurde die P. die Grundlage der… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Phalanx — (griech., »geschlossene Reihe«), bei den Griechen das Heer in Schlachtordnung, besonders die mehrere Glieder tiefe Ausstellung der schweren Infanterie, vornehmlich in der von König Philipp von Mazedonien begründeten und in der hellenistischen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Phalanx — (grch.), geschlossene Schlachtreihe; insbes. die Kernschar des mazedon. mit Speeren bewaffneten Fußvolks, eine im Viereck eng aneinander geschlossene Masse [Tafel: Kriegswesen I, 1]. (S. auch Phalangen.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Phalanx — Phalanx, griech., Schlachtreihe; die tiefe Aufstellung des schwerbewaffneten griech. Fußvolks; insbesonders das schwerbewaffnete macedon. Fußvolk, ein eigenes Corps bildend, 16 Mann tief, dicht geschlossen, mit 14 langen Speeren bewaffnet, auf… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • phalanx — index band, mass (body of persons) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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