tri·fec·ta | \trī-ˈfek-tə, 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

Slater, Chris Shaw and Steven Duggar compose one heck of a prospect trifecta, a rarity for the Giants, who have had little success drafting and developing outfielders over the past several decades. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants’ homegrown outfield of the future taking shape in Sacramento," 3 May 2018 The three Amigos: Arizona State, Syracuse and Oklahoma have a trifecta of red flare negatives that could have overshadowed whatever positives the committee saw in them. Elton Alexander,, "March Madness 2018: Selection Committee's 68-team field is true madness," 7 Dec. 2017 Senior associate food editor Molly Baz took my gushing enthusiasm and channeled it into a health-promoting slushy trifecta. Amanda Shapiro, Bon Appetit, "The Healthyish Drink of the Summer is Here," 21 June 2018 This year, a hostessing trifecta that included previous winners—actress Cynthia Erivo, lighting designer Natasha Katz, and singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper—oversaw the momentous occasion that celebrated the best of Broadway. Maria Ward, Vogue, "Broadway Stars Shine Bright at the Pre–Tony Awards Luncheon at the Rainbow Room," 23 May 2018 But now, here is Acer’s Predator X27 4K monitor — the first to have the 4K, HDR, and G-Sync trifecta. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "The first 4K, HDR, and G-Sync monitor is up for preorder, but it’s $2,000," 18 May 2018 The trifecta of natural threats forced residents to evacuate and prompted the closure of parks and college campuses. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is squirting lava and toxic gas through new cracks in the Earth," 6 May 2018 The trifecta of natural threats forced residents to evacuate and prompted the closure of parks and college campuses on Friday. CBS News, "Hawaii rattled by quakes as Kilauea volcano spews lava and toxic gas," 5 May 2018 This trifecta of troubles — higher oil prices, American steel tariffs and a crisis of confidence in the government — has turned Italy into a leading export of an unwanted commodity: worry. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Italy’s Economy Was Humming Nicely. Then Came Trump.," 22 June 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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Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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The first known use of trifecta was in 1971

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