• synonyms


[triv-ee-uh m]
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  1. (during the Middle Ages) the lower division of the seven liberal arts, comprising grammar, rhetoric, and logic.
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Compare quadrivium.

Origin of trivium

1795–1805; < Medieval Latin, special use of Latin trivium public place, literally, place where three roads meet. See trivial
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for trivium

Historical Examples

  • Such men as Anselm were educated on the Trivium and Quadrivium.

    The History of Dartmouth College

    Baxter Perry Smith

  • The Trivium was sometimes designated as logic and the Quadrivium as physic.

  • Thus the first three books contain the Trivium and Quadrivium.

  • But let us rather seek it in the curriculum of the Trivium and Quadrivium.

  • These subjects were the Trivium, and the more advanced Quadrivium.

British Dictionary definitions for trivium


noun plural -ia (-ɪə)
  1. (in medieval learning) the lower division of the seven liberal arts, consisting of grammar, rhetoric, and logicCompare quadrivium
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Word Origin

C19: from Medieval Latin, from Latin: crossroads; see trivial
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 trivium


1804, from Medieval Latin, "grammar, rhetoric, and logic," first three of the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages, considered less important than arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. From Latin trivium "place where three roads meet" (see trivial).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper