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[met-uh-tahr-suh l] /ˌmɛt əˈtɑr səl/ Anatomy
of or relating to the metatarsus, the part of the foot that includes the bones between the ankle and toes.
a bone in the metatarsus.
1730-40; meta- + tarsal
Related forms
metatarsally, adverb
intermetatarsal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for metatarsals
  • In modern humans, metatarsals create the distinctive arch of the foot and act as a shock absorber while keeping the foot stiff.
  • One other possibility about pain remaining now, one year after the surgery, is over stress on the middle metatarsals.
British Dictionary definitions for metatarsals


of or relating to the metatarsus
any bone of the metatarsus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for metatarsals



1739, from metatarsus (1670s), from Modern Latin metatarsus, from meta- (see meta-) + tarsus (see tarsus). As a noun from 1854.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metatarsals in Medicine

metatarsal met·a·tar·sal (mět'ə-tär'səl)
Of or relating to the metatarsus. n.
Any of the five long bones that form the anterior portion of the foot and articulate posteriorly with the three cuneiform and the cuboid bones and anteriorly with the five proximal phalanges.

met'a·tar'sal·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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metatarsals in Science
Any of the bones of the feet in humans or the back feet in animals that are located between the tarsal bones and the phalanges.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for metatarsals


any of several tubular bones between the ankle (tarsal) bones and each of the hindlimb digits, in land vertebrates corresponding to the metacarpal bones of the hand (forepaw). In humans the five metatarsal bones help form longitudinal arches along the inner and outer sides of the foot and a transverse arch at the ball of the foot. The first metatarsal (which adjoins the phalanges of the big toe) is enlarged and strengthened for its weight-bearing function in standing and walking on two feet

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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