Definition of astragalus in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈstraɡ(ə)ləs/

noun (plural astragali /əˈstraɡ(ə)lʌɪ/)

1chiefly Zoology another term for talus1 (ankle bone).
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.
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.
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.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: as¦trag|alus

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