trifecta

noun
tri·​fec·​ta | \ trī-ˈfek-tə How to pronounce trifecta (audio) , ˈtrī-ˌfek-\

Definition of trifecta

1 : triple sense 1b achieved a show-business trifecta : a platinum record, hit TV series, and an Oscar
2 : a variation of the perfecta in which a bettor wins by selecting the first three finishers of a race in the correct order of finish

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Where does trifecta come from?

Trifecta is a recent addition to the English language. It first appeared in the early 1970s as a term for a horse-racing bet in which the first, second, and third place finishers are chosen in the correct order.

The word has since broadened in meaning: it can now also refer to a group of three (usually desirable) things (such as “the trifecta of curing cancer, ending hunger, and putting an end to war"). It is found in everything from advertisements to media company names to casual speech.

Trifecta combines the prefix tri- (meaning “three”) with the last element in perfecta, a word of American Spanish origin that refers to a horse-racing bet in which the first- and second-place finishers are chosen correctly.

Examples of trifecta in a Sentence

that summertime trifecta for meteorologically induced misery: hazy, hot, and humid

Recent Examples on the Web

For something a little more fun, try the Ariana Grande–inspiring classic ’90s flick starring the unbeatable trifecta of Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler, who play wives suddenly put out to pasture by their midlife-crisis-having husbands. Vogue, "These Are the Best Anti–Valentine’s Day Movies to Make You Very Glad You’re Single," 12 Feb. 2019 This Valentine’s Day, go for the trifecta: Make a chocolate and red wine cake for your sweetheart. Bryn Mooth, Cincinnati.com, "Chocolate + wine = true love," 8 Feb. 2018 This gargantuan sandwich originated in New Orleans and consists of a trifecta of cold cuts, layered with a delicious tapenade and packed into a loaf that's bigger than your head. Gabriella Vigoreaux, Good Housekeeping, "The Only Sandwich You Need on Game Day," 25 Oct. 2015 Democrats secured trifectas — control of the governor’s mansion and both state legislative chambers — in Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New Mexico on election night. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Democratic wins in these 9 states will have seismic policy consequences," 9 Nov. 2018 Halloween decorations usually veer into one of three categories—creepy, cutesy, or campy—but this latest trend nails the trifecta. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Zombie Flamingos Will Scare The Flock Out Of Your Neighbors This Halloween," 20 Sep. 2018 Fry-Day Friday also kicks off a trifecta of comfort food national food days. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Fry Day is Friday! Where to score free french fries and deals," 12 July 2018 Democrats also boosted what had been a small number of trifectas—controlling the governor and both houses of the legislature—to 14 states from eight. Scott Calvert, WSJ, "Democrats Win Some State Legislatures, but GOP Maintains Majority," 7 Nov. 2018 The Missoula rally was the first of a trifecta of Trumpathons this week. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: A Trifecta of Trumpathons," 21 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trifecta.' 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 trifecta

1971, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for trifecta

tri- + perfecta

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Learn More about trifecta

Dictionary Entries near trifecta

triethyl

trifacial

trifarious

trifecta

trifid

triflagellate

trifle

Statistics for trifecta

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for trifecta

The first known use of trifecta was in 1971

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More from Merriam-Webster on trifecta

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trifecta

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trifecta

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about trifecta

Comments on trifecta

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