of very little importance or value; insignificant: Don't bother me with trivial matters.
Biology. (of names of organisms) specific, as distinguished from generic.
noting a solution of an equation in which the value of every variable of the equation is equal to zero.
(of a theorem, proof, or the like) simple, transparent, or immediately evident.
Chemistry. (of names of chemical compounds) derived from the natural source, or of historic origin, and not according to the systematic nomenclature: Picric acid is the trivial name of 2,4,6-trinitrophenol.
The Latin adjective triviālis, “pertaining to a crossroads or to public streets; common, vulgar, ordinary,” is a derivative of the classical Latin noun trivium meaning “the place where three roads meet, crossroads, intersection,” also “the street corner, the gutter (where bad character and manners are formed, and boys and young men ruined),” and finally the place sacred to the goddess Hecate. In Greek mythology, Hecate, who is associated with the moon and the netherworld, presides over (three-way) crossroads, doorways, magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery, and is mentioned as such by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, and Macbeth. The equivalent of Hecate in Roman mythology is Diana (especially one of Diana’s multiple personae). Regarded as a three-part deity, Diana has been known by various names, including Diana Trivia and simply Trivia.
Trivia is a word in Latin, the (neuter) plural of trivium “crossroads, intersection,” and the feminine singular of the adjective trivius “pertaining to a trivium ” (especially used as an epithet of the goddess Diana). The modern English trivia is New Latin, being the neuter plural of trivius, but its meaning “unimportant things, trifles, trivialities” is influenced by triviality and dates only from the beginning of the 20th century.
- triv·i·al·ly, adverb
- su·per·triv·i·al, adjective
- un·triv·i·al, adjective
- un·triv·i·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use trivial in a sentence
We are not talking about a trivial difference over policy — or even a major one.
Leaving your camera off for a call you don’t need to be visible for makes for a small — but not trivial — savings in carbon emissions.Remote workers are greener, but their tech still has a real carbon cost | Devin Coldewey | January 20, 2021 | TechCrunch
It just has to be a non-trivial cost for someone who was on the margin.How Much Do We Really Care About Children? (Ep. 447) | Stephen J. Dubner | January 14, 2021 | Freakonomics
That would be so regardless of how much the aliens shattered the beliefs people held about their own societies, whose beloved differences would look trivial by comparison to those with the Little Green Men.Why a Universal Society Is Unattainable - Issue 95: Escape | Mark W. Moffett | January 14, 2021 | Nautilus
The axion has all the right properties, which is not trivial at all.
And more trivial modifications like altering bodily odors and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Harping about a Republican war on women while wages stagnate and growth sputters is trivial and desperate.
The most riveting stories so far deal with trivial matters that sound like deleted scenes from a George Costanza fever dream.
Seemingly trivial facts gathered from a variety of experiences can change the course of a future narrative.Writing a Novel: Even Making It Up Requires Research | Ridley Pearson | July 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Clarification: in a country with vile, daily crimes against women it is wrong for privileged women to file trivial cases.
Never did events of the utmost magnitude hinge on incidents so trivial to the community at large.The Red Year | Louis Tracy
They merely used such instruments as fate offered, however trivial, however clumsy.The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
If she ignored his note it would give undue importance to a trivial affair.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
They were little reasons, trivial grains of offence which through long years had accumulated into a mountain.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
His secret thoughts he buried beneath a continuous mental preoccupation with the vain and the trivial.The Man from Time | Frank Belknap Long
British Dictionary definitions for trivial
of little importance; petty or frivolous: trivial complaints
ordinary or commonplace; trite: trivial conversation
maths (of the solutions of a set of homogeneous equations) having zero values for all the variables
biology denoting the specific name of an organism in binomial nomenclature
biology chem denoting the popular name of an organism or substance, as opposed to the scientific one
of or relating to the trivium
- trivially, adverb
- trivialness, noun
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