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[triv-ee-uh l] /ˈtrɪv i əl/
of very little importance or value; insignificant:
Don't bother me with trivial matters.
commonplace; ordinary.
Biology. (of names of organisms) specific, as distinguished from generic.
  1. noting a solution of an equation in which the value of every variable of the equation is equal to zero.
  2. (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.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin triviālis belonging to the crossroads or street corner, hence commonplace, equivalent to tri- tri- + vi(a) road + -ālis -al1
Related forms
trivially, adverb
supertrivial, adjective
untrivial, adjective
untrivially, adverb
1. unimportant, nugatory, slight, immaterial, inconsequential, frivolous, trifling. See petty.
1. important. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for trivial
  • It was a decent business, although too trivial for major oil companies.
  • It is the body of which roads are the arms and legs-a trivial or quadrivial place, the thoroughfare and ordinary of travelers.
  • Honey is trivial compared with the importance of pollination.
  • It would be well, if all our lives were a divine tragedy even, instead of this trivial comedy or farce.
  • For now, the technology is available in limited form and in somewhat trivial applications.
  • But these queries really are trivial, compared to the immense significance of the book itself.
  • Avoid disagreeing over the trivial parts of your opponent's position, and instead focus on the telling points.
  • It is clear that higher education needs to be rethought, and not in a trivial sense.
  • Most of those patterns are trivial enough so that two weeks to two months of practice should be sufficient.
  • In my view, it's a trivial statement which means far less that it appears.
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
Derived Forms
trivially, adverb
trivialness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin triviālis belonging to the public streets, common, from trivium crossroads, junction of three roads, from tri- + via road
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
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Word Origin and History for trivial
early 15c., "of the trivium," from M.L. trivialis, from trivium "first three of the seven liberal arts," from L., lit. "place where three roads meet," from tri- "three" + via "road." The basic notion is of "that which may be found anywhere, commonplace, vulgar." The meaning "ordinary" (1580s) and "insignificant" (1590s) were in L. trivialis "commonplace, vulgar," originally "of or belonging to the crossroads." The verb trivialize is attested from 1846.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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