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[pen-tath-luh n, -lon] /pɛnˈtæθ lən, -lɒn/
an athletic contest comprising five different track and field events and won by the contestant gaining the highest total score.
Origin of pentathlon
1700-10; < Greek pénthāthlon, equivalent to pent- pent- + âthlon contest Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for pentathlon


an athletic contest consisting of five different events, based on a competition in the ancient Greek Olympics Compare decathlon
Derived Forms
pentathlete, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Greek pentathlon, from penta- + athlon contest
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pentathlon

athletic contest of five events, 1852, from Greek pentathlon "the contest of five exercises," from pente "five" (see five) + athlon "prize, contest," of uncertain origin. Earlier in English in Latin form pentathlum (1706). The Greek version consisted of jumping, sprinting, discus and spear throwing, and wrestling. The modern version (1912) consists of horseback riding, fencing, shooting, swimming, and cross-country running.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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