Definition of astragalus in English:


Line breaks: as¦trag|alus
Pronunciation: /əˈstrag(ə)ləs

noun (plural astragali /-lʌɪ/)

  • 1chiefly Zoology another term for talus1 (ankle bone).
    More example sentences
    • Most of what I found were unidentifiable broken sections of long bones, but I did find a bird femur (thigh bone) and a nice rodent astragalus (ankle bone).
    • Next to the pelvic bone was a much smaller bone, an astragalus (ankle bone), also of an elephant.
    • In the hind limb of these species, the bones of the ankle are also reduced in number, and the astragalus becomes the main weight-bearing bone.
  • 1.1 (astragali) • historical Small bones used as dice.
    More example sentences
    • The astragalus, a precursor to the die made from the knuckle bone of animals, was found in archeological sites of early peoples.
    • Worked astragali from the deposit may indicate that gaming or fortune-telling took place.
    • These astragali have four clearly defined surfaces and were probably the antecedents of the ordinary six-faced cube or die, specimens of which are datable as far back as 3000 B.C.
  • 2A plant of a genus that includes milk vetch.
    • Genus Astragalus, family Leguminosae
    More example sentences
    • For centuries, the Chinese have used astragalus, or milk vetch root, to treat ailments by strengthening the body's natural defenses.
    • I'd also like to take antioxidant vitamins and the herbs astragalus and milk thistle to help prevent a recurrence, but my doctors disagree.
    • Nutritional supplements like echinacea, goldenseal, elderberry and astragalus have long been recognized in folk medicine as cold and flu remedies.


mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek astragalos 'ankle bone, moulding', also the name of a plant.

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