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 The trifecta of hate, pain, bias and discrimination. oregonlive, "For Oregon cops of color, George Floyd’s killing brought anger, disgust and layers of complications," 5 July 2020 But now food tech startups have expanded to a new type of meat that hits on a similar trifecta: sausages. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "Impossible Foods rolls out plant-based sausages to restaurants nationwide," 29 June 2020 The trifecta: Oppressive heat, high unemployment, and a pandemic. Pete Mcbride, National Geographic, "What did dinosaur eggs look like?," 17 June 2020 The $2 exacta paid $19.60, and the $1 trifecta paid $99.50. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Belmont Stakes 2020: Results, payouts, order of finish," 20 June 2020 Although this trail trifecta isn’t especially difficult in terms of technical challenge, the thinner, high-elevation air can cause huffing and puffing that slows down progress. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Flower-filled Mount Baldy Crossover Trail is a gorgeous summer hike. Here's how to do it," 11 June 2020 So that trifecta of social justice, health justice, and economic justice is the moment. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Longtime executive Tony Coles on biotech, racism, and opportunities for change," 5 June 2020 On the north slope Blind Lake offers not only the trifecta, but grayling, and a hybrid splake (brookie and lake trout) as well. Bob Semerau, Outdoor Life, "Take an Overland Adventure to These Five Fishing Destinations," 4 June 2020 Plus no leader to guide us through the terrible trifecta. Heather Knight,, "East Bay mother of 5 fights the NRA and gun violence with digital savvy," 2 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for trifecta

Time Traveler

The first known use of trifecta was in 1971

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Statistics for trifecta

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Trifecta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on trifecta

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trifecta

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trifecta Encyclopedia article about trifecta

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