See more synonyms for trichotomy on
noun, plural tri·chot·o·mies.
  1. division into three parts, classes, categories, etc.
  2. an instance of such a division, as in thought, structure, or object.
  3. the three-part division of human beings into body, spirit, and soul.

Origin of trichotomy

1600–10; < New Latin trichotomia < Greek trích(a) in three parts + New Latin -tomia -tomy
Related formstrich·o·tom·ic [trik-uh-tom-ik] /ˌtrɪk əˈtɒm ɪk/, tri·chot·o·mous, adjectivetri·chot·o·mous·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for trichotomy


noun plural -mies
  1. division into three categories
  2. theol the division of man into body, spirit, and soul
Derived Formstrichotomic (ˌtrɪkəˈtɒmɪk) or trichotomous, adjectivetrichotomously, adverb

Word Origin for trichotomy

C17: probably from New Latin trichotomia, from Greek trikhotomein to divide into three, from trikha triple + temnein to cut
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