“triathlon” is written with a tilde and without an interspersed “h”

The Fundación del Español Urgente (Fundéu BBVA) points out that the words “biathlon”, “triathlon”, “pentathlon”, etc., which derive from the Greek “athlos” ('competition' or 'test'), in Latin “athlon” , are written without an interspersed “h” and with a tilde.

On June 17, the Copa del World of Triathlon in the Spanish town of Bañolas (Gerona) and in the related information it is possible to find cases in which the name of this test, as well as the one received by its participants, appear written with the etymological transcription that maintains the "h".

However, in Spanish the suffix "-atlón", which is part of those words that refer to athletic competitions in which the same athlete must pass tests of different types, is written without "h": biathlon" (two tests) , "triathlon" (three tests), "pentathlon" (five tests), "heptathlon" (seven tests), "decathlon" (ten tests).

Likewise, the Fundéu BBVA, which works with the advice of the Royal Spanish Academy, recalls that the athletes who compete in these events are called "biathletes", "triathletes", "pentathletes", "heptathletes" and "decathlete".

The Urgent Spanish Foundation (www.fundeu.es), promoted by Agencia Efe, sponsored by BBVA and whose main objective is the proper use of Spanish in the media, has the collaboration, among others, of Instituto Cervantes, the San Millán Foundation, Spanish Electricity Network, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, CEDRO, CELER Soluciones, Hermes Traducciones, Linguaserve and Abengoa.


Related publications

Button back to top