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.
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.

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

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.
Cite This Source Link To trivial
World English Dictionary
trivial (ˈtrɪvɪəl)
1.  of little importance; petty or frivolous: trivial complaints
2.  ordinary or commonplace; trite: trivial conversation
3.  maths (of the solutions of a set of homogeneous equations) having zero values for all the variables
4.  biology denoting the specific name of an organism in binomial nomenclature
5.  biology, chem denoting the popular name of an organism or substance, as opposed to the scientific one
6.  of or relating to the trivium
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

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
Cite This Source
Slang Dictionary


1. Too simple to bother detailing.
2. Not worth the speaker's time.
3. Complex, but solvable by methods so well known that anyone not utterly cretinous would have thought of them already.
4. Any problem one has already solved (some claim that hackish `trivial' usually evaluates to `I've seen it before'). Hackers' notions of triviality may be quite at variance with those of non-hackers. See nontrivial, uninteresting.

The physicist Richard Feynman, who had the hacker nature to an amazing degree (see his essay "Los Alamos From Below" in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"), defined `trivial theorem' as "one that has already been proved".
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature