Letter: Singular need for ‘s’ in biceps

I WAS very interested to read about Ruth Walker’s first experience of bodybuilding (Spectrum, 15 January) and pleased to note her body’s fairly quick response to the new stimulus.

However, if gym workouts are now going to be her thing, including reporting on her experiences, I must point out the words “bicep” and “tricep” do not exist. Agreed, they appear on gym posters, occasionally in fitness textbooks, are used by 99.99 per cent of gym instructors and personal trainers, but they do not exist. The singular forms of all these Latin root nouns end in “s”: one biceps, triceps, quadriceps and so on. Strictly speaking, the plurals are “bicepses”, “tricepses” etc, but these are very rarely heard nowadays, so biceps and triceps seem to be the accepted forms for the singular and plural.

Mike Baptie, Banff

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