Posted by Smokey Stover on October 18, 2004
In Reply to: Dumbbells posted by James Briggs on October 18, 2004
: : I was working out with free weights at the gym the other day and wondered when and why they came to be called dumbbells. It did occur to me that it could have something to do with the (steroetypically) low intellectual capacities of those who use them. That is, dumbbells using dumbbells...is there anything in that? Of course, if this theory turns out to be true, I really should consider changing my name.
: My etymology book indicates that this was historically apparatus for swinging like that fir swinging a church bell, but without the bell. By extension this came to also mean the 'dumb bells' that people exercise with.
James is quite right, but should have mentioned that the "dumb" part of dumbbells means mute or silent. A bell-ringing apparatus without the bell is necessarily silent. SS