[ trih-kot-uh-mee ]
/ trɪˈkɒt ə mi /

noun, plural tri·chot·o·mies.

division into three parts, classes, categories, etc.
an instance of such a division, as in thought, structure, or object.
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 forms

trich·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. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for trichotomy


/ (traɪˈkɒtəmɪ) /

noun plural -mies

division into three categories
theol the division of man into body, spirit, and soul

Derived Forms

trichotomic (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