Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The section of the vertebrate foot between the leg and the metatarsus.
  • n. The bones making up this section, especially the seven small bones of the human ankle.
  • n. A fibrous plate that supports and shapes the edge of the eyelid. Also called tarsal plate.
  • n. Zoology The tarsometatarsus.
  • n. Zoology The distal part of the leg of an arthropod, usually divided into segments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The part of the foot between the tibia and fibula and the metatarsus.
  • n. Any of the seven bones in this part of the foot.
  • n. The superior or inferior tarsal muscle of the eyelid, responsible for sympathetic control of the eyelid.
  • n. In insects and other arthropods, any of a series of articulations in the true foot; the last joint forming the foot in spiders.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. The ankle; the bones or cartilages of the part of the foot between the metatarsus and the leg, consisting in man of seven short bones.
  • n. A plate of dense connective tissue or cartilage in the eyelid of man and many animals; -- called also tarsal cartilage, and tarsal plate.
  • n. The foot of an insect or a crustacean. It usually consists of form two to five joints.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In zoology and anatomy, the proximal segment of the pes or foot, corresponding to the carpus of the manus or hand; the collection of bones between the tibia and the metatarsus, entering into the construction of the ankle-joint, and into that part of the foot known in man as the instep.
  • n. Hence In descriptive ornith., the shank; the part of the leg (properly of the foot) of a bird which extends from the bases of the toes to the first joint above, the principal bone of this section consisting of three metatarsal bones fused together and with distal tarsal bones. See cuts under booted, scutellate, and tarsometatarsus.
  • n. In entomology: The foot; the terminal segment of any leg, next to and beyond the tibia, consisting of a variable number of joints, usually five, and ending sometimes in a pair of claws like pincers, or in a suckerlike pad, or otherwise.
  • n. The last joint of a spider's leg, forming, with the preceding joint, or metatarsus, the foot.
  • n. The small plate of condensed connective tissue along the free border of the upper and lower eyelid. It is burrowed by the Meibomian glands. Also called tarsal cartilage.
  • n. See the adjectives.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the part of the foot of a vertebrate between the metatarsus and the leg; in human beings the bones of the ankle and heel collectively

Etymologies

New Latin, from Greek tarsos, ankle; see ters- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin tarsus, from Ancient Greek ταρσός, a "flat surface" used for drying. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The tarsus is a true hinge joint and because of the great strain which it sustains, is subject to frequent injury.

    Lameness of the Horse Veterinary Practitioners' Series, No. 1

  • The long bone referred to -- called the tarsus -- corresponds to the instep of the human foot, that is, the foot proper, while the joint which extends backward, forming an angle with the next large bone, is really the bird's heel.

    Our Bird Comrades

  • At its lower end the tibia forms what is known as the ankle joint by articulating with the next long bone, which is commonly called the tarsus, although the proper name would be really metatarsus.

    Our Bird Comrades

  • All the rest of the leg, made of several short segments, we will call the tarsus, and we will mark it V.

    The Insect Folk

  • But the most striking contrast between the two lies in the bones of the leg and of that part of the foot termed the tarsus, which follows upon the leg.

    Lectures on Evolution

  • You know, in some human worlds, they'd call your tarsus a cankle!

    Cute Overload

  • But if any bone be moved from its place, or a joint of the toes be luxated, or any of the bones of the part called the tarsus be displaced, it must be forced back again to its place as described with regard to the hand; and is to be treated with cerate, compresses, and bandages, like the fractures, with the exception of the splints; and is to be secured tightly in the same way, and the bandages renewed on the third day; and the patient thus bandaged should return the same answers as in fractures, as to the bandages feeling tight or slack.

    On Fractures

  • This term is applied to an affection of the tarsus which is usually characterized by the existence of an exostosis on the mesial and inferior portion of the hock.

    Lameness of the Horse Veterinary Practitioners' Series, No. 1

  • Exceeding care must be exercised in bandaging the hock, however, lest the animal be so irritated that in the extreme flexion of the tarsus which is often caused by bandaging, the wound dressings may be completely deranged.

    Lameness of the Horse Veterinary Practitioners' Series, No. 1

  • Read the description of the penguins: "Their feet are placed more posteriorly than in any other birds, and only afford them support by resting on the tarsus, which is enlarged, like the sole of the foot of

    Mohun, or, the Last Days of Lee

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