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 marks a massive shift in the pageant world, where non-Black women often dominate competitions. Aimee Simeon,, "Brianna Mason On Her Historic Miss Tennessee Win: "Representation Is So Important"," 5 July 2019 The $2 exacta paid $96, and the $1 trifecta paid $1,244. Mark Inabinett |,, "Belmont Stakes 2019: Results, payouts, order of finish," 8 June 2019 Suprema ran dead last but our other selections ran 1-2-3 for a nice trifecta win. John Cherwa,, "Racing! Jon White’s final Belmont Stakes rankings," 7 June 2019 And the zoo’s summertime trifecta is complete with a 34-feet-high obstacle course and zipline. Lauren Mccutcheon,, "Family fun in Philadelphia: Dinosaurs on the Parkway, zipline at the zoo, JoJo Siwa, Apollo 11 festivities, Cirque," 5 June 2019 In 1963 New York lost Penn Station, around the same time that Philadelphia, in a trifecta of demolition, razed the three great downtown banks by Frank Furness, architect of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Michael J. Lewis, WSJ, "Bulldozing a Modernist Landmark," 22 June 2019 Meanwhile, the Bruins will head back to Boston in hopes of giving their city the elusive trifecta of three championships in one year. Kristen Nelson,, "Tuukka Rask Comes Through Again as Bruins Force Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final," 9 June 2019 The Lady Mavericks, powered by the trifecta of Brianna Turner, Rangie Bessard and Jordan Hosey, won their final 18 games to capture the state title. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Girls’ basketball: Manvel’s Bryan Harris named Barbers Hill HC/assistant AD," 4 June 2019 The Kitchen at Barnard Griffin This winery is a trifecta of a wine tasting room, a restaurant, and an artistic glass-fusing studio. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "Three Best Day Trips from Seattle," 17 May 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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Statistics for trifecta

Last Updated

14 Jul 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 Encyclopedia article about trifecta

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