1. (in ancient Greece) a group of heavily armed infantry formed in ranks and files close and deep, with shields joined and long spears overlapping.
2. any body of troops in close array.
3. a number of individuals, esp. persons united for a common purpose.
4. a compact or closely massed body of persons, animals, or things.
5. Military . (initial capital letter) a radar-controlled U.S. Navy 20mm Gating-type gun deployed on ships as a last line of defense against antiship cruise missiles.
6. (in Fourierism) a group of about 1800 persons, living together and holding their property in common.
7. Anatomy, Zoology . any of the bones of the fingers or toes.
1545-55; < L <Gk phálanx military formation, bone of finger ortoe, wooden roller
“For as the interposition of a rivulet, however small, will occasion the line of the phalanx to fluctuate, so any trifling disagreement will be the cause of seditions; but they will not so soon flow from anything else as from the disagreement between virtue and vice, and next to that between poverty and riches.”
~ Aristotle ~