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noun (1)

tri·​ton ˈtrī-tᵊn How to pronounce triton (audio)
capitalized : a son of Poseidon described as a demigod of the sea with the lower part of his body like that of a fish
[New Latin, genus name, from Latin Triton] : any of various large marine gastropod mollusks (family Ranellidae synonym Cymatiidae) with a heavy elongated conical shell
also : the shell

Illustration of triton

Illustration of triton
  • triton 2


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noun (2)

tri·​ton ˈtrī-ˌtän How to pronounce triton (audio)
: the nucleus of tritium

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Triton and Mermaids

Triton was originally the son of the sea god Poseidon (or Neptune). A guardian of the fish and other creatures of the sea, he is usually shown as hearty, muscular, and cheerful. Like his father, he often carries a trident (three-pronged fork) and may ride in a chariot drawn by seahorses. Blowing on his conch shell, he creates the roar of the ocean. As a decorative image, Tritons are simply the male version of mermaids. The handsome seashells that bear their name are the very conchs on which they blow. Triton has also given his name to the planet Neptune's largest moon.

Examples of triton in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
It is said that the nymphs are departed, the tritons are departed, and those who had lived in these apartments and also those who had lived in those apartments. Eugene Ostashevsky, The New York Review of Books, 4 May 2023 Sculptural figures including tritons, mythical sea gods, are rendered in more detail on the front and back. Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN, 25 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'triton.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Latin, from Greek Tritōn

Noun (2)

tritium + -on entry 2

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1536, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1934, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of triton was in 1536

Dictionary Entries Near triton

Cite this Entry

“Triton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of various large sea snails with a heavy cone-shaped shell
also : the shell of a triton

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