Etymology
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phalanx (n.)

1550s, "line of battle in close ranks," from Latin phalanx "compact body of heavily armed men in battle array," or directly from Greek phalanx (genitive phalangos) "line of battle, battle array," also "finger or toe bone," originally "round piece of wood, trunk, log," a word of unknown origin. Perhaps from PIE root *bhelg- "plank, beam" (source of Old English balca "balk;" see balk (n.)).

In anatomy, originally the whole row of finger joints, which fit together like infantry in close order. Figurative sense of "number of persons banded together in a common cause" is attested from 1600 (compare Spanish Falangist, member of a fascist organization founded in 1933).

The celebrated Macedonian phalanx was normally drawn up sixteen ranks deep, the men being clad in armor, bearing shields, and armed with swords and with spears from 21 to 24 feet long. In array the shields formed a continuous bulwark, and the ranks were placed at such intervals that five spears which were borne pointed forward and upward protected every man in the front rank. The phalanx on smooth ground, and with its flanks and rear adequately protected, was practically invincible; but it was cumbrous and slow in movement, and if once broken could only with great difficulty be reformed. [Century Dictionary]
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phalange (n.)

mid-15c., "phalanx, ancient military division," from Old French phalange "phalanx" (13c.) and directly from Latin phalangem (nominative phalanx); see phalanx. It is the earlier form of that word in English. Related: Phalangeal; phalangic.

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Falangist (n.)

1937, member of the Falange, the fascist party in Spain (founded 1933), from Spanish Falange (Española) "(Spanish) Phalanx," from Latin phalanx (genitive phalangis); see phalanx.

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phalanstery (n.)

1846 (in French form from 1844), "building or buildings occupied by a community living together and having goods and property in common," from French phalanstère, the name for one of the socialistic communities of 1,800 or so people, living together as family, proposed as the basic unit of society in the system of French social scientist François-Marie-Charles Fourier (1772-1837), coined by Fourier from phalange, properly "phalanx" (see phalanx) + ending after monastère "monastery." Transferred use, in reference to the groups themselves, is by 1850. Related: Phalansterial; phalansterian.

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serried (adj.)

"pressed close together, compacted in regular lines," 1667 (in "Paradise Lost"), probably a past-participle adjective from serry "to press close together" (1580s), a military term, from French serre "close, compact" (12c.), past participle of serrer "press close, fasten," from Vulgar Latin *serrare "to bolt, lock up," from Latin sera "a bolt, bar, cross-bar." It would be a parallel verb, based on a noun, to classical Latin serere "attach, join; arrange, line up," and, presumably, like it, from PIE root *ser- (2) "to line up."

Later use of serried is due to Scott, who linked it with phalanx.

The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood,
The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight ;
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well ;
[from "Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field"]
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recorder (n.2)

"musical instrument having a long tube with seven holes and a mouthpiece," early 15c. (earlier recordys, mid-14c.), from record (v.) in an archaic sense of "quietly sing or repeat a tune, practice a tune," used mostly of birds. Darwin, writing of birds in "The Descent of Man," says, "The young males continue practising, or as the bird-catchers say, recording, for ten or eleven months."

The musical instrument was known to Shakespeare and Milton ("In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood/Of flutes and soft recorders," "Paradise Lost"), but the name, and the device, were rarely heard by mid-1800s (it is marked "obsolete" in Century Dictionary, 1895), ousted by the flute, but both enjoyed revival after 1911 as an easy-to-play instrument for musical beginners.

Seynte Aldelme diede in this tyme havynge in habite and in use instrumentes of the arte off musike, as in harpes, pipes, recordres. [Higden's "Polychronicon," 15c. translation] 
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balk (n.)

also baulk, Middle English balke, from Old English balca "ridge, bank," from or influenced by Old Norse balkr "ridge of land," especially between two plowed furrows, both from Proto-Germanic *balkon- (source also of Old Saxon balko, Danish bjelke, Old Frisian balka, Old High German balcho, German Balken "beam, rafter"), from PIE root *bhelg- "beam, plank" (source also of Latin fulcire "to prop up, support," fulcrum "bedpost;" Lithuanian balžiena "cross-bar;" and possibly Greek phalanx "trunk, log, line of battle"). Italian balco "a beam" is from Germanic (see balcony).

In old use especially "an unplowed strip in a field, often along and marking a boundary." The modern senses are figurative, representing the balk as a hindrance or obstruction (see balk (v.)), or else the notion of "a piece missed in plowing" as "a blunder, a failure." Hence, in baseball, "a motion made by the pitcher as if to deliver the ball, but without doing so," attested from 1845, probably from the plowing sense.

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