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Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

We mark this as non-standard. I do not see a justification for doing so. The word (a back-formation from biceps, which was originally singular) has plenty of usage from the best exemplars of "standard" English usage: for just two obvious examples, see results from The (London) Times and the New York Times. By contrast, the plural form bicepses seems only to be used by very bad writers who are trying to conform to some kind of perceived notion of correctness. Widsith 19:22, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree that it is widely used, certainly in US (MW3) and certainly among the sport set and exercise enthusiasts. The OEtyD, which I usually respect, declares there to be no such word as "bicep", but that seems cranky. IMHO, bicepses would need a usage note, but seems valid. Is it dated? MW3 treats bicep and biceps as acceptable in the singular, but biceps is the main entry. biceps is the first-listed plural. biceps in classical Latin seems to be a not-common adjective meaning "two-headed" or "two-part". The application to anatomy seems to be New Latin. {{informal}} would be the strongest limitation qualifier I'd like for the US. I just don't know about UK. DCDuring TALK 19:55, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
But biceps was not originally singular; it was originally plurale tantum from the plural Latin. Yes, it is widely used that way, I agree, but the form bicep is proscribed in many situations. The word biceps appears in the works of both Cicero and Ovid, as well as in the Vulgate Bible, and is inherently plural in Latin. --EncycloPetey 07:36, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Its use in Latin is something else. (In Latin it's an adjective anyway, isn't it? The only use of it I can find in the Vulgate is Proverbs V:4 "gladius biceps", which seems to mean double-edged sword.) Its interpretation as a plural form in English seems standard to me. Why do you think bicep is proscribed, and by whom? Widsith 08:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
In modern usage, "bicep" is not at all nonstandard. Old usage and Latin origins are interesting, but the standard name for that muscle nowadays is "bicep". Google is not the final authority on English usage, but it can be a useful reminder of when discussions are detached from reality:
And that second number is inflated by contractions and possessive-s ("my right bicep's gonna hurt tomorrow!" or "my right bicep's circumference is 30cm"). Gronky (talk) 10:42, 20 January 2014 (UTC)