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Achilles tendon

In the immediately previous entry on the term Achilles heel I ranted about how a demigod in Greek mythology, Achilles, gets way too much attention, to the detriment of the pantheon of full-gods out there. So I won’t give him yet more attention by repeating that rant here.

A simple definition: The Achilles tendon joins the muscles of the calf to the heel bone.

The Achilles tendon is so-named because this particular tendon was Achilles’ heel, metaphorically speaking. No, wait. That can’t be right. Then Achilles’ heel would be called Achilles’ tendon, not Achilles’ heel. So, was it his heel or the tendon attaching the muscles of his calf to his heel that was Achilles vulnerable spot? I’m so confused.

And another thing. Why does the dictionary put an apostrophe after Achilles when talking about his heel, but not when talking about his tendon. Apostrophes create the possessive form of nouns. It was the heel belonging to Achilles. I get that. But was it his tendon or not? The lack of apostrophe would suggest not, but then why is Achilles attaching his name to this tendon at all? That seems rather arrogant of him, doesn’t it?

If you know the answers to either of these questions—was it the heel or the tendon that was Achilles vulnerable spot and why is the use of apostrophes inconsistent—or both of them then please leave the answer(s) as a comment attached to this entry. You never know. Someone out there might care.

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