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

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 Paper conservator Jane McAusland also found that the work was created on paper bearing a trident and ring watermark—the same motif seen on more than 200 sheets used by the artist. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 When FC Barcelona won the treble with the greatest attacking the trident the footballing world has ever seen, they should have been set up for an extended period of dominance both domestically and on the continent. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 This was Messi’s European debut for Paris Saint-Germain, alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the fabled MNM trident, the ultimate symbol of Paris Saint-Germain’s status and spending power in European soccer. Samindra Kunti, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 Paris Saint-Germain’s historic attacking trident—Messi, Neymar (himself the world’s most expensive player), and 22-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappe—may only play one game on the same team and none together. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 31 Aug. 2021 Holt compares the approach to a trident, nearly driving DCEU fan Jake Peralta insane (though the tridents in Aquaman and Justice League, which Holt has clearly never seen, have five prongs instead of the correct three). Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 19 Aug. 2021 The film does boast a fitfully goofy swagger that's not leaned into often enough, as when Kidman impales a TV with a trident. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2021 Inside, the uniformity of color continues and sees black leather and Alcantara seats emblazoned with the Fragment name and Maserati trident. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 25 June 2021 Those dwelling in the Trench transformed into hideous monsters - the ones that attacked Arthur (Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) on their quest to find the trident of Atlan in the first movie. Nick Romano,, 11 June 2021 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,, 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,, 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, 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

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

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trident.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on trident

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trident

Nglish: Translation of trident for Spanish Speakers


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