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 This is puzzling because the case for removing the trident was strong. James Stavridis, Time, "We Trust the Navy SEALs to Protect America. Trump Should Trust Them to Judge Themselves," 25 Nov. 2019 Jurgen Klopp possibly possess the best attacking trio in the world of football, in Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané, but the Merseyside club lacks genuine wide alternatives in case of injury or tired legs beyond their trident., "Liverpool Interested in Signing Ajax Star David Neres to Bolster Attacking Options," 29 Sep. 2019 Mr Corbyn has abandoned his opposition to Britain’s trident missile system under pressure both from his MPs and from Len McCluskey, the head of the Unite trade union, who thinks that jobs trump geopolitics. The Economist, "Security questions for Jeremy Corbyn," 7 Nov. 2019 With manager Jürgen Klopp having the potent trident of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as his preferred attackers, Origi has once again been a substitute for most of the season., "Divock Origi Set to Receive New Contract From Liverpool After Champions League Heroics," 4 June 2019 Brizo is named for a minor Greek goddess who was a protectress of fishermen, and arriving guests are greeted by a colorful floor mural of the deity, fetchingly mermaid-like, brandishing a trident. Rand Richards Cooper,, "Review: Brizo in Rocky Hill," 10 July 2019 The cast of Arrow The Arrow cast trade their bow and arrows for a trident and a crystal ball — and the August issue of Entertainment Weekly featuring star Stephen Amell on the cover! Marcus Jones,, "Stars take a trip under the sea in EW's Comic-Con 2019 Facebook & Instagram Stories Studio," 21 July 2019 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 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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Trident.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on trident

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trident

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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