[ trī′fər-kāshən ]


A division into three branches.



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Other words from trifurcation

tri•furcate v.

Words nearby trifurcation

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.


What does trifurcation mean?

Trifurcation is the act of splitting something into three parts or branches, or the process of it splitting in such a way.

It can also refer to something that forks or has been split into three parts.

Trifurcation is based on the verb trifurcate, which means to divide or fork into three branches. These words are most often used in technical and scientific contexts, such as engineering and medicine.

The related and more common word bifurcation means the act of dividing or forking into two parts or branches, or something that has forked or been divided in such a way.

Example: The hiking trail has a trifurcation after about four miles, so make sure you go down the middle path and not the ones on the right or left.

Where does trifurcation come from?

The first records of the word trifurcation come from the 1800s. The verb trifurcate is recorded earlier and comes from the Latin trifurcus, from the prefix tri-, meaning “three,” and furc(a), meaning “fork” (as in a fork in the road or a river).

Trifurcation is used in many contexts in which structures are discussed in technical or scientific terms. Trifurcations can be found throughout nature in things like plants, rivers, even parts of the human body that fork into three different channels, such as some arteries of the heart.

Trifurcations can also happen to entities like organizations or governments that are split into three different parts or factions.

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What are some other forms related to trifurcation?

What are some words that share a root or word element with trifurcation


What are some words that often get used in discussing trifurcation?

How is trifurcation used in real life?

Trifurcation is usually used in technical or scientific contexts, but it can be used in any situation in which something is divided into three parts.


Try using trifurcation!

Which of the following things would be likely to have a trifurcation in it?

A. a tree limb
B. an artery
C. a river
D. all of the above