[ delts ]
/ dɛlts /
Save This Word!

plural noun
Informal. deltoid muscles.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of delts

First recorded in 1965–70; by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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.

Did you know ... ?

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

How to use delts in a sentence