Talos was a bronze giant who guarded Crete. He had a single vein in his body which ran from his head to his ankles and contained so-called ichor, the blood of the gods. He was killed by Medea, who pulled out the nail in his foot that sealed the bottom of the vein, whereupon he bled to death.

In reference to this, or to combats undertaken in his lifetime (he had the task of repelling invaders), his name is said to mean 'sufferer', from talas, 'enduring', 'patient', 'wretched'.