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 Inside was an oasis, with shrubs clipped into spheres and a marble lobby that contained a golden statue of a trident-bearing angel. Te-ping Chen, The Atlantic, "Shanghai Murmur," 11 Dec. 2020 The solution: Kinney would travel around in a van and dole out books to kids via a 7-foot golden trident that young readers could connect to the new book’s storyline and associate with the cover’s bright orange and yellow color scheme. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "How 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' author Jeff Kinney became the king of COVID-19 book tours," 17 Dec. 2020 Caddo and trident maples are also good choices, but not silver maple, red maple and the smooth-bark hybrids such as Autumn Blaze. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, "Maples, oaks, elms and more: These are the best trees for North Texas," 19 Nov. 2020 Its most powerful weapon is the Poseidon-4 radar altimeter, named after the trident-wielding Greek god of the sea. Frank Jordans, Star Tribune, "Europe, US 'climate guardian' satellite to monitor oceans," 20 Nov. 2020 The Trident is composed of four objects: an anchor, eagle, trident, and pistol. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Behind the “Budweiser”: A Brief History of the Navy SEAL Trident," 21 Oct. 2020 The image showed Kamala Harris killing president Donald Trump with a trishul (trident). Scroll Staff, Quartz India, "A Kamala Harris meme has kicked up a storm with Hindu groups," 22 Oct. 2020 This changed in 1970, when a gold trident became standard for all SEALs. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Behind the “Budweiser”: A Brief History of the Navy SEAL Trident," 21 Oct. 2020 Mexican sycamore, Texas ash, Persian ironwood, loquat leaf oak, desert willow, ginkgo, trident maple, Mexican plum and Walter’s viburnum. Dallas News, "Placement is key when planting trees," 12 Oct. 2020 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for trident

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trident.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for trident


How to pronounce trident (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on trident

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trident

Nglish: Translation of trident for Spanish Speakers

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