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

Things were supposed to change in November, when California Democrats scored the trifecta of legislative wins: both houses of government and the governorship. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "LA residents fed up with officials, demand change after homeless crisis spirals in city," 20 Aug. 2019 But the crown jewel of his hospitality trifecta, a higher end full-service restaurant called Honey is still just an idea. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "The restaurant boom in metro Detroit is over. Here's why," 25 July 2019 Its new-and-different nearby structures, the trifecta of the John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Paul Rudolph’s Government Service Center, and the lumbering Government Center Garage, fostered the perception that the whole complex was just plug ugly. Anthony Flint,, "Learning to love the world’s ugliest building," 1 July 2019 In fact, the trifecta of mountains that Nims had just summited at at the time of our meeting—Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Kanchenjunga—would be considered career highlights under almost any circumstances. National Geographic, "Meet Nepal's new 'action hero' climber," 24 May 2019 In Huehuetenango, a trifecta of dam projects in an area called Ixquisís has caused a decade of simmering conflict between the region and corporate interests often with government backing. Natalie Keyssar, National Geographic, "How this quiet region in Guatemala became the epicenter of migration," 26 July 2019 Should be part of the Chad Brown trifecta, especially with two-time Diana winner Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle., "Clancy’s Call: Saratoga," 12 July 2019 Democrats could also win the governor’s mansion, after eight years of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, for another new trifecta. Dylan Scott, Vox, "9 states where Democrats can win back legislative control from Republicans in 2018," 30 July 2018 The Kings got back in as a wild-card team a year after their miss led to the dismissal of coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi, and the Ducks and San Jose Sharks joined them in the playoffs for a California trifecta. Helene Elliott,, "NHL playoffs preview: A look at each series matchup," 10 Apr. 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

8 Sep 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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formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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