tri·dent | \ˈtrī-dᵊnt \

Definition of trident 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a 3-pronged spear serving in classical mythology as the attribute of a sea god (such as Neptune)

2 : a 3-pronged spear (as for fishing)



Definition of trident (Entry 2 of 2)

: having three teeth, processes, or points

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Did You Know?

A trident has three prongs or teeth, as the root dent, "tooth", tells us. The trident has long been used to spear fish in different parts of the world, so there's no mystery about why the Greek sea god Poseidon and his Roman counterpart Neptune both carry a trident as their symbol. In some gladiator exhibitions in ancient Rome, one gladiator, called a retiarius ("net man"), would be equipped as though he were a fisherman, with a weighted net and a trident; with his net he would snare his sword-wielding opponent, and with his trident he would spear his helpless foe.

Examples of trident in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tall women in red devil outfits brandished their tridents. George Vecsey, New York Times, "Watching the 2018 World Cup? Polyglot New York Has Got You Covered," 15 June 2018 From the side, the exterior is adorned only with the iconic trident on the C pillar and three vents right as the hood slopes into the windshield. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Classic Maserati with a pinch of Chrysler: The Levante S GranSport, reviewed," 8 June 2018 From the front, the trident sits dead center in the large grille with a large air intake below. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Classic Maserati with a pinch of Chrysler: The Levante S GranSport, reviewed," 8 June 2018 Which brings us to Klopp’s other key discovery in his Liverpool trident: Firmino’s secret defensive abilities. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Liverpool’s Champions League Secret: Reinventing Soccer’s Simplest Position," 25 May 2018 The other, very cautious, man was retired Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, considered within the SEAL community as one of the toughest officers to ever wear a commando’s trident. Carl Prine,, "Mystery meeting in Coronado brings ex-SEAL boss into court-martial probe," 10 Apr. 2018 Twenty-four different krewe logo items will be thrown including many light-ups (tridents, necklaces, scepters, balls, maracas and fidget spinners) as well as doubloons, frisbees, cups, medallion beads, plushies and footballs. Carol Wolfram,, "Slidell Mardi Gras krewes ready to roll into 2018 season," 24 Jan. 2018 Like the warm Mediterranean winds for which it’s named, the Maserati Levante has ushered in a change in season for its brand, representing the very first time the storied trident badge has graced an SUV. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "2018 Maserati Levante," 8 Mar. 2018 The 23-year-old can also operate centrally, but the midfield trident of Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have been simply indispensable to Pep Guardiola., "Bernardo Silva Reveals Old Dressing Room Nickname and Why He's Happy With His Squad Role at Man City," 28 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In early April, Pacific closed its acquisition of the Trident fish meal plant, which converts fish waste to fish food. Jeff Manning | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Pacific Seafood, DOJ in fiery clash over Newport expansion," 12 May 2017 Time is of the essence: The commercial season for Pacific whiting, the kind of fish the Trident plant in Newport is equipped to process, opens Monday. Jeff Manning | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Pacific Seafood, DOJ in fiery clash over Newport expansion," 12 May 2017 Today, American Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines are equipped with a sixth-generation Trident weapons system. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "Launching a Missile From a Submarine Is Harder Than You Think," 13 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trident.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trident


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1589, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for trident


Latin trident-, tridens, from trident-, tridens having three teeth, from tri- + dent-, dens tooth — more at tooth


Latin trident-, tridens

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Time Traveler for trident

The first known use of trident was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for trident



English Language Learners Definition of trident

: a spear that has three points and that looks like a large fork


tri·dent | \ˈtrī-dᵊnt\

Kids Definition of trident

: a spear with three prongs

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More from Merriam-Webster on trident

See words that rhyme with trident

Spanish Central: Translation of trident

Nglish: Translation of trident for Spanish Speakers

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