[ trahy-ad, -uhd ]
/ ˈtraɪ æd, -əd /
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a group of three, especially of three closely related persons or things.
  1. an element, atom, or group having a valence of three.Compare monad (def. 2), dyad (def. 3).
  2. a group of three closely related compounds or elements, as isomers or halides.
Music. a chord of three tones, especially one consisting of a given tone with its major or minor third and its perfect, augmented, or diminished fifth.
(initial capital letter)Military. the three categories of strategic-nuclear-weapons delivery systems: bombers, land-based missiles, and missile-firing submarines.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of triad

1540–50; <Latin triad- (stem of trias) <Greek triásSee tri-, -ad1


tri·ad·ic, adjectivetri·ad·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for triad

British Dictionary definitions for triad (1 of 2)

/ (ˈtraɪæd) /


a group of three; trio
chem an atom, element, group, or ion that has a valency of three
music a three-note chord consisting of a note and the third and fifth above it
an aphoristic literary form used in medieval Welsh and Irish literature
the US strategic nuclear force, consisting of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers

Derived forms of triad

triadic, adjectivetriadism, noun

Word Origin for triad

C16: from Late Latin trias, from Greek; related to Greek treis three

British Dictionary definitions for triad (2 of 2)

/ (ˈtraɪæd) /


any of several Chinese secret societies, esp one involved in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for triad

[ trīăd′, -əd ]


A collection of three things or symptoms having something in common.
The transverse tubule, and the terminal cisternae on each side of it, in a skeletal muscle fiber.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.