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

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 Rob Bishop’s trifecta redistricting logic would hurt Republicans nationally. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Nov. 2021 There’s a trifecta effect for older unemployed women. Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2021 The bill’s latest draft proposes to reinvent child care with a trifecta of cost-increasing forces. Casey Mulligan, WSJ, 9 Dec. 2021 But there’s a component of the wellness trifecta that is commonly overlooked: financial wellness. Dani Pascarella, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 Fast forward to this week, when Texas has managed to hit a kind of trifecta of reactionary hideousness. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 2 Sep. 2021 Hobbs' plan is paid for by a trifecta of revenue streams aimed at lowering C02 emissions—a gas tax increase, a cap and trade program, and a low-carbon fuel standard. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, 14 Apr. 2021 The alignment was two-thirds of the way complete in Norman, but Riley’s departure opens the door for the Buckeyes to get a second chance at hauling a trifecta of talent to Ohio. Robert Fenbers, cleveland, 30 Nov. 2021 Wrecking-ball Purdue, which has a record of 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, has a chance to pull the trifecta of all-time upsets on Saturday with its game at No.4 Ohio State. Joseph Goodman |, al, 12 Nov. 2021

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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The first known use of trifecta was in 1971

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Trifecta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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