Definition of trivial
- a trivial objection
- trivial problems
- a trivial solution to a linear equation
statistics and other trivial matters
a trivial sum of money
Compared to her problems, our problems seem trivial.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trivial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Trivial comes from a Latin word meaning "crossroads"—that is, where three roads come together. Since a crossroads is a very public place where all kinds of people might show up, trivialis came to mean "commonplace" or "vulgar". Today the English word has changed slightly in meaning and instead usually describes something barely worth mentioning. Mathematicians use the word to refer to some part of a proof or definition that's extremely simple and needn't be explained, but the rest of us tend to use it just to mean "unimportant". "Small talk" at a party, for example, is usually trivial conversation, though a trivial excuse for not going on a date ("I have to wash my hair") might hide an emotion that isn't so trivial ("I can't stand the sight of you"). To trivialize something is to treat it as if it didn't matter, as if it were just another triviality.
neither here nor there;
What made you want to look up trivial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Confusing Words—A Quiz