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Tri Words: “tritagonist” to “trixenous”,
Part 4 of 4

Words that include: tri- (Greek > Latin: three, thrice, threefold; a number used as a prefix)

In ancient Greek drama, the third actor, whose part is usually that of the evil genius or as promoter of the sufferings of the protagonist.
1. A rare condition in which perception of blue and green becomes confused. It is due to the absence of blue-sensitive pigment in the cone cells of the retina.
2. Coined in the early 20th century from Greek tritos "third" plus anopia "blindness". Based on the idea of not seeing a third of the color spectrum.
The doctrine that there are three Gods; especially, that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Gods.
The third tine of a deer’s antler in order of development, or the one developed after the third year.
A zooid of the third generation. A zooid is an individual invertebrate animal that reproduces nonsexually by budding or splitting; especially one that lives in a colony in which each member is joined to others by living material; for example, a coral.
1. An office held by three men (triumvirs or triumviri) especially (in ancient Rome) one of several groups of joint magistrates chosen for various purposes, as for establishing colonies, revising the lists of knights, guarding against fires at night, etc.
2. One of three people sharing public administration or civil authority.
A three-footed stand or tripod; especially such a device, made of iron, for resting a hot cooking vessel to avoid marring a surface.
The Greek goddess Diana, so called because she had three faces; Luna in heaven; Diana on earth; and Hecate in hell. As the Triple Goddess, she was known as the Lunar Virgin, Mother of Creatures, and the Huntress (Destroyer).

As Diana Egeria, patroness of childbirth, nursing, and healing, the Goddess made Nemi’s holy spring the Lourdes of pagan Rome. The legendary King Numa was said to have derived all his wisdom from a sacred marriage with her.

Insignificant or inessential matters; trifles.

The current meaning of trivia refers to something of no consequence. It came from the Latin trivium through its adjectival form trivialis. Yet trivium, “a place where three roads meet”, from tri (three) and via (way), traditionally has been a word of great signification.

In medieval schools the trivium (three roads of learning) was the name given the first three liberal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. With the passage of time, the “academic” trivium was forgotten, but not the “inconsequential” trivia. That may be because of man’s natural predilection toward gossip over learning. It has long been felt that gossips and idlers gather where roads intersect, since they make natural and convenient places to meet. What was usually discussed at these congregations was the commonplace, matters of little value, the gossip that one might expect to hear at tri-viae, the trivial.

Source of information:
Freeman, Morton S.. The Story Behind the Word
Philadelphia: ISI Press, 1985, p. 269.

1. Of little significance or value.
2. Ordinary; commonplace.
3. Concerned with or involving trivia.

The history of trivial, as with trivia, started with the Latin word trivium, formed from the prefix tri-, “consisting of three of the things named”, and via, “road”. Trivium meant “the meeting place of three roads, especially as a place of public resort”.

Trivial also had a pejorative sense, that we express by the phrase the “gutter”, as in “His manners were formed in the gutter”. The adjective trivialis, derived from trivium, was literally rendered as “pertaining to a crossroads” and was used in Latin to mean “common” or “ordinary”, probably from the belief that things found at such a public place as a crossroads, where all the world may pass by, are generally common things. The idea that people often stop where roads meet to pass the time of day with small talk may also have influenced the development of this sense. At any rate, trivial was recorded with the meaning most familiar to us, “of little importance or significance and commonplace”.

Medieval teachers and scholars recognized seven liberal arts: the lower three, grammar, logic, and rhetoric, were known as the trivium, and the upper four, arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music, were known as the quadrivium. The notion of "less important subjects" led in the 16th century to the use of the derived adjective trivial for "commonplace, of little importance".

—Partially from
Encarta World English Dictionary
St. Martin's Press

The quality or condition of being trivial; something trivial; the condition or quality of having little importance or seriousness.
trivialize, trivialization:
To reduce to triviality; devalued; to make insignificant; to treat something as, or make it appear, less important, significant, or valuable than it really is.
The lower division of the seven liberal arts in medieval schools, consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
Having three generations or broods per year.
1. Occurring, published, or performed once every three weeks.
2. Occurring, published, or performed three times each week.
trixenous, trixeny:
A reference to a parasite utilizing three host species during its life cycle.