[ delts ]
/ dɛlts /

plural noun

Informal. deltoid muscles.



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Origin of delts

First recorded in 1965–70; by shortening Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does delt mean?

Delt is a shortened version of the word deltoid, the triangle-shaped muscle in your shoulder that allows you to raise your arms to the sides.

Delt is most often used in the plural (delts). The term is used informally by people who talk about muscles a lot, like fitness enthusiasts and athletic trainers. Many other muscle names are informally shortened this way, such as pectoral muscles to pecs, biceps to bis, triceps to tris, and quadriceps to quads.

Example: My delts are so sore today after swimming yesterday.

Where does delt come from?

The first records of the noun deltoid being shortened to delt come from the 1960s. Deltoid comes from the Greek word deltoeidḗs, meaning “delta-shaped.” A delta is a Greek character shaped like a triangle (∆). Deltoid is also an English adjective meaning “delta-shaped” or “triangular.”

When you’re lifting weights at the gym, you don’t want to have to waste time saying all two syllables of deltoid, so you shorten it and say you’re working on your delts. But this isn’t the first time the muscle’s name has been shortened. The original name for the deltoid was the deltoideus muscle, and this term is still used in some technical contexts.

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What are some synonyms for delt?

What are some words that share a root or word element with delt?

What are some words that often get used in discussing delt?


What are some words delt may be commonly confused with?



How is delt used in real life?

Delt and delts are used informally, usually in the context of fitness and sports training. Shortening the names of muscles in this way is very common among weightlifters and other fitness buffs.



Try using delt!

Which of the following Greek characters is the source of the term delt?

A. Λ
B. Ω
C. Φ
D. Δ

Example sentences from the Web for delts

  • For a few minutes the flames stood up, snapping far into the air, and throwing detached ribbons of fire toward the Delt buildings.

    The Bail Jumper|Robert J. C. Stead