pha·lanx (fālăngks′, fălăngks′)
n. pl. pha·lanx·es or pha·lan·ges (fə-lănjēz, fā-)
1. A compact or close-knit body of people: "formed a solid phalanx in defense of the Constitution and Protestant religion" (G.M. Trevelyan).
2. A formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears, developed by Philip II of Macedon and used by Alexander the Great.
3. pl. phalanges Anatomy A bone of a finger or toe. Also called phalange.
4. See phalanstery.
[Latin phalanx, phalang-, from Greek.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.