tri·​dent | \ ˈtrī-dᵊnt How to pronounce trident (audio) \

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

And now there’s a third prong on this deadly trident: light pollution. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "These fish eggs aren't hatching. The culprit? Light pollution.," 9 July 2019 When Zigun moved to Coney Island in the 1970s, many of its crumbling buildings were topped with nautical stone figures, including mermaids, porpoises and Neptune clasping his trident. Scottie Andrew And Nadeem Muaddi, CNN, "Mermaids are taking over New York this weekend. Here's why," 22 June 2019 And Aquaman will try to stop him and find a way to unite the two worlds, possibly by acquiring another magical trident? Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Hang on to your magical tridents, the final Aquaman trailer is here," 20 Nov. 2018 This trident also uses Firmino in more of a point-guard role, whereas the other two relied more on creative midfield play behind them. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Liverpool’s Champions League Secret: Reinventing Soccer’s Simplest Position," 25 May 2018 The star, simply put, is an instant upgrade on both Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck, and could work as part of a fearsome attacking trident with Alexandre Lacazette, who is crying out for better service, and potentially Aubameyang., "FanView: Why Arsenal Could Emerge as the Real Winners of the Proposed Mkhitaryan-Sanchez Swap Deal," 19 Jan. 2018 His trident can summon lightning, control the sea itself and even pierce the man of steel’s skin. WSJ, "Aquaman Haters Miss What Makes the Merman Great," 19 Dec. 2018 Apparently Orm wants to use a magic trident to bring Atlantis back to the surface and declare war on the human race. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Hang on to your magical tridents, the final Aquaman trailer is here," 20 Nov. 2018 Finally, in the film’s third act, Mera and Aquaman, while traveling to find the magic trident, catch up with Manta in Sicily, defeat him, break his helmet, and throw him into the ocean. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Aquaman’s post-credits scene, explained," 21 Dec. 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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Statistics for trident

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trident

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trident

Spanish Central: Translation of trident

Nglish: Translation of trident for Spanish Speakers

Comments on trident

What made you want to look up trident? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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