gym weights: barbell / dumbbell

  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    They are called "barbells". If they are small and held in one hand, they are called "dumbbells." This probably sounds like I'm making it up, but those are the actual words. :)

    - James
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    I believe that the term may have originated back in the old days of weight lifting where heavy bells were lifted but the hammer or striker of the bell had been removed to make it dumb or mute when lifted.

    I can not remember where I heard this so it could well be tosh.

    .,,
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    They are called "barbells". If they are small and held in one hand, they are called "dumbbells." This probably sounds like I'm making it up, but those are the actual words. :)

    - James

    The etymology of dumbbell can be read on the Word Detective Web site. It's fascinating (and the word barbell is explained in the same article). The original dumb-bell was a device to train apprentice bell-ringers, and was called dumb because it made no sound, unlike an actual bell. This was later redesigned to make a home-exercise device.
     
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