noun, plural thalami [thal-uh-mahy] .
Anatomy. the middle part of the diencephalon through which sensory impulses pass to reach the cerebral cortex.
Botany. a receptacle or torus.
Also called thalamium. an apartment for women in an ancient Greek house.

1695–1705; < Neo-Latin; Latin: bedroom < Greek thálamos

thalamic [thuh-lam-ik] , adjective
thalamically, adverb
postthalamic, adjective
subthalamic, adjective
transthalamic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
thalamus (ˈθæləməs)
n , pl -mi
1.  either of the two contiguous egg-shaped masses of grey matter at the base of the brain
2.  both of these masses considered as a functional unit
3.  the receptacle or torus of a flower
[C18: from Latin, Greek thalamos inner room; probably related to Greek tholos vault]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1753, "the receptacle of a flower," Mod.L., from L. thalamus "inner chamber," from Gk. thalamos "inner chamber, bedroom," related to thalame "den, lair," tholos "vault, vaulted building." Used since 1756 of a part of the forebrain where a nerve appears to originate.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

thalamus thal·a·mus (thāl'ə-məs)
n. pl. thal·a·mi (-mī')
A large ovoid mass of gray matter that forms the larger dorsal subdivision of the diencephalon and is located medial to the internal capsule and to the body and tail of the caudate nucleus. It functions in the relay of sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex.

tha·lam'ic (thə-lām'ĭk) adj.
tha·lam'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
thalamus   (thāl'ə-məs)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural thalami (thāl'ə-mī')
The part of the vertebrate brain that lies at the rear of the forebrain. It relays sensory information to the cerebral cortex and regulates the perception of touch, pain, and temperature.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
thalamus [(thal-uh-muhs)]

The part of the brain that coordinates nerve impulses relating to the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and taste.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


either of a pair of large, ovoid organs that form most of the lateral walls of the third ventricle of the brain. The thalamus translates neural impulses from various receptors to the cerebral cortex, where they are experienced as the appropriate sensations of touch, pain, or temperature, during the waking state, and it regulates synaptic transmissions (i.e., incoming impulses) during resting states.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Many of its axons cross the midline and probably ascend with the medial lemniscus to the ventro-lateral region of the thalamus.
In this case, the doctors targeted neurons in the thalamus for treatment.
In contrast, the sleepy subjects showed tighter coupling with basic alertness networks in the brainstem and thalamus.
The electrode supplies an electric current to nerve cells in an area of the brain thought to control motor function-the thalamus.
Image for Thalamus
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