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[tal-uh n] /ˈtæl ən/
a claw, especially of a bird of prey.
the shoulder on the bolt of a lock against which the key presses in sliding the bolt.
Cards. the cards left over after the deal; stock.
1350-1400; Middle English taloun < Anglo-French; Old French talon < Vulgar Latin *tālōn-, stem of *tālō, for Latin tālus heel
Related forms
taloned, adjective
untaloned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for talons
  • Animals that hunt birds in trees or in flight are strong fliers with strong talons.
  • Something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.
  • Challenger's handler crossed the majestic set to center stage, with the national bird's impressive talons encircling his arm.
  • Should be easy to get a grip with those talons of hers.
  • Three seconds later, the fish eagle had flown over our heads with a fish in its talons.
  • He must also avoid the jaws and talons of new and ferocious predators.
  • It's talons were so masterful in its movements that it made barely a splash.
  • With their sharp beaks and talons, birds of prey often capture kids' imaginations.
  • Ospreys carry fish in their talons so the fish is parallel to the bird's body in an efficient streamlined position.
  • Bald eagles have large, sharp talons and strong feet.
British Dictionary definitions for talons


a sharply hooked claw, esp of a bird of prey
anything resembling a bird's claw
the part of a lock that the key presses on when it is turned
(cards) the pile of cards left after the deal
(architect) another name for ogee
(stock exchange) a printed slip attached to some bearer bonds to enable the holder to apply for a new sheet of coupons
Derived Forms
taloned, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French: heel, from Latin tālus heel
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 talons



c.1400, talounz "claws of a bird or beast," probably originally from Old French talon "heel or hinder part of the foot of a beast, or of a man, or of a shoe," from Medieval Latin talonem "heel," from Latin talus "ankle" (see talus (1)). "The extension to birds of prey, and subsequent stages, are peculiar to English" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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talons in Science
One of the sharp, curved claws on a limb of a bird or other animal such as a lizard, used for seizing and tearing prey. Most talons are situated at the ends of digits.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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