1historical Any venomous spider.
(In form Phalangium) a genus of arthropods, originally including harvestmen, false scorpions, and whip scorpions, later restricted to certain harvestmen (order Opiliones or Phalangida); (also phalangium) a harvestman of this genus.
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Systema Naturae (ed. 10, 1758) I. 618.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Nicholas Udall (1504–1556), schoolmaster and playwright. From classical Latin phalangium a kind of venomous spider, a plant reputed to cure the bites of poisonous spiders from ancient Greek ϕαλάγγιον a kind of venomous spider, in Hellenistic Greek also a plant reputed to cure the bites of poisonous spiders from ϕαλαγγ-, ϕάλανξ + -ιον, suffix forming nouns.