trivial

adjective
triv·​i·​al | \ ˈtri-vē-əl How to pronounce trivial (audio) \

Definition of trivial

1a : of little worth or importance a trivial objection trivial problems
b : relating to or being the mathematically simplest case specifically : characterized by having all variables equal to zero a trivial solution to a linear equation

Other Words from trivial

trivialist \ ˈtri-​vē-​ə-​list How to pronounce trivial (audio) \ noun
trivially \ ˈtri-​vē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce trivial (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

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. Extending that meaning to the related noun might sound unnecessarily harsh for a word we associate with pub quizzes, but the original notion behind trivia was that whatever qualified wasn't something you should worry about not knowing. Before it became the name of a board game, trivial pursuit referred to something in which one takes an interest but that is ultimately inconsequential.

Did you know?

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 the mathematically simplest case, but the rest of us tend to use it just to mean "unimportant." "Small talk" at a party, for example, is usually trivial conversation. To trivialize something is to treat it as if it doesn't matter, as if it is just another triviality.

Examples of trivial in a Sentence

His later memory, untutored and unsupported by anything so trivial as evidence or documents, now flourished and ran wild. — Muriel Spark, Curriculum Vitae, (1992) 1993 I had never heard anyone speak of their parents in this way; I never even knew you could make them seem trivial — Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy, 1990 But the last tribute was to be a struggle among states for possession of the trivial remains of a man who in life had known as much revilement as honor. — Robert Penn Warren, Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back, 1980 statistics and other trivial matters a trivial sum of money Compared to her problems, our problems seem trivial. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Departing workers will always leave your organization with holes to fill, and those holes aren’t trivial. Alex Adamopoulos, Forbes, 2 May 2022 These aren’t trivial expenditures, either: Food away from home accounts for 6.3% of the consumer-price index, compared with 2.8% for used vehicles and 0.6% for airfares. Greg Ip, WSJ, 12 May 2021 Some parents, believing their children’s risk of Covid to be trivial, have been reluctant to vaccinate them from the start. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 But maybe the victory will always be trivial given the experience of receiving so much adulation from the fans. oregonlive, 30 Mar. 2022 Jiang acknowledges that outfitting either telescope with the equipment required to transmit the message will not be trivial. Daniel Oberhaus, Scientific American, 30 Mar. 2022 This timely research illustrates the amount that workers are willing to give up is not trivial, with employees being willing to forgo over $4300 per annum to be able to work from home full time. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 Most of these efforts were trivial, although contemporary efforts to suppress the study of the German language were not. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 7 Mar. 2022 At least for now, this sense of democratic purpose seems to have persuaded politicians that hot-button issues like pandemic restrictions, immigration, even fuel prices and inflation, are trivial by comparison. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of trivial

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for trivial

Latin trivialis found everywhere, commonplace, from trivium crossroads, from tri- + via way — more at way

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Time Traveler for trivial

Time Traveler

The first known use of trivial was in 1589

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Dictionary Entries Near trivial

trivia

trivial

trivialise

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Statistics for trivial

Last Updated

4 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Trivial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trivial. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for trivial

trivial

adjective
triv·​i·​al | \ ˈtri-vē-əl How to pronounce trivial (audio) \

Kids Definition of trivial

: of little worth or importance Don't get angry about trivial matters.

More from Merriam-Webster on trivial

Nglish: Translation of trivial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trivial for Arabic Speakers

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