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

Already, the Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo trifecta seems threatened—though of course, Microsoft’s set to reveal its own Project xCloud streaming solution sometime soon, maybe even as early as E3. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Google's Stadia game-streaming service lets you play games anywhere, if your Internet can handle it," 19 Mar. 2019 Democrat Jared Polis was the first openly gay man to be elected governor in US history, keeping the seat in Democratic hands, and Democrats also won the Colorado Senate to notch a new trifecta in the Rocky Mountains. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Democratic wins in these 9 states will have seismic policy consequences," 9 Nov. 2018 Chef Cámara ensures every dish on the menu has a trifecta of classic ingredients, unique preparation, and artful presentation. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "32 Best Restaurants in San Francisco," 1 Mar. 2018 Caroline Varner, a fellow public school teacher in Teachers 4 Social Justice, completed the rookie trifecta as the campaign treasurer. Jackie Fielder, Teen Vogue, "Gabriela López Just Became the Youngest Elected Official in San Francisco," 11 Jan. 2019 The singer/actress threw it way back this Thursday with a photo of herself from 1999 going for a particularly interesting look featuring the '90s trifecta: zig-zag part, peacock tendrils, and hair crystals. Melissa Minton, Allure, "Mandy Moore Had the Most '90s Hairstyle Ever," 3 May 2018 Let this trifecta be on your New Year’s Eve outfit moodboard. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The 15 Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: The Kardashians Take a Festive Selfie, JLo Makes Christmas PJs Glam, and More," 29 Dec. 2018 There will also be a Democratic trifecta in New York after the party took back control of the state’s Senate. Emily Stewart, Vox, "State legislatures Democrats have flipped so far in the 2018 elections," 7 Nov. 2018 Down 49-47 to West Clermont Wednesday night, with a few seconds left and one play, Kennedi Myles took an inbound pass, crossed half court and zinged the strings for the winning trifecta for a 50-49 stunner. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Springer: Are deep freezes coming in the CHL?," 28 Jan. 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

19 May 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

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