talus (n.1)

"anklebone," 1690s, from Latin talus "ankle, anklebone, knucklebone" (plural tali), related to Latin taxillus "a small die, cube" (they originally were made from the knucklebones of animals).

talus (n.2)

"slope," 1640s, from French talus (16c.), from Old French talu "slope, mound, small hill" (12c.), probably from Gallo-Roman *talutum, from Latin talutium "a slope or outcrop of rock debris," perhaps of Celtic origin (compare Welsh, Breton tal "forehead, brow").

OED, however, suggests derivation from root of talus (n.1) in the sense of "heel" which developed in its Romanic descendants. Mainly used of military earthwork at first; meaning "sloping mass of rocky fragments that has fallen from a cliff" is first recorded 1830.

updated on January 14, 2014

Definitions of talus from WordNet

talus (n.)
a sloping mass of loose rocks at the base of a cliff;
Synonyms: scree
talus (n.)
the bone in the ankle that articulates with the leg bones to form the ankle joint;
Synonyms: anklebone / astragal / astragalus
From, not affiliated with etymonline.