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  1. a three-pronged instrument or weapon.
  2. Roman History. a three-pronged spear used by a retiarius in gladiatorial combats.
  3. Classical Mythology. the three-pronged spear forming a characteristic attribute of the sea god Poseidon, or Neptune.
  4. a fish spear having three prongs.
  5. (initial capital letter) Military. a 34-foot (10-meter) submarine-launched U.S. ballistic missile with eight to ten warheads and a range of 6500 miles (10,459 km).
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  1. Also tri·den·tal [trahy-den-tl] /traɪˈdɛn tl/. having three prongs or tines.
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Origin of trident

1580–90; < Latin trident- (stem of tridēns) having three teeth. See tri-, dent2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for trident


  1. a three-pronged spear, originally from the East
  2. (in Greek and Roman mythology) the three-pronged spear that the sea god Poseidon (Neptune) is represented as carrying
  3. a three-pronged instrument, weapon, or symbol
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  1. having three prongs
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin tridēns three-pronged, from tri- + dēns tooth


  1. a type of US submarine-launched ballistic missile with independently targetable warheads
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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

Word Origin and History for trident


mid-15c., from Latin tridentem (nominative tridens; genitive tridentis) "three-pronged, three-toothed," from tri- "three" (see tri-) + dens (genitive dentis) "tooth" (see tooth). As a type of U.S. nuclear-powered submarine, recorded from 1972.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper