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

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Other Words from trivial

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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

His feats, however impressive, are trivial for a computer. James Taranto, WSJ, "How to Store Data Along Memory Lane," 18 Jan. 2019 If one of its most visible AI features is making such trivial mistakes, why should consumers trust the company’s other services? James Vincent, The Verge, "Google removes gendered pronouns from Gmail’s Smart Compose to avoid AI bias," 27 Nov. 2018 While editing a document or spreadsheet directly from a flash drive is trivial, that’s not the case for video, where the interface speed limits performance considerably. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "SanDisk's Extreme Pro portable SSD is so fast you can edit video on it," 8 Jan. 2019 And yet the scale of the veneration of the Ganges makes the Jordan seem trivial by comparison. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘Unruly Waters’ and ‘Ganges’ Review: In India, Water Is Politics," 4 Jan. 2019 Of course, if the monster was real, grabbing bae's hand wouldn't save you, but that doesn't make the act trivial. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Why Do Couples Hold Hands?," 4 Jan. 2019 He has been besieged by complaints about his travel and other practices that would become fodder for House Democrats no matter how trivial. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Ryan Zinke’s Parting Gift," 24 Dec. 2018 The new bridge will have to be simple and parsimonious, but not trivial. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Renzo Piano reveals design to replace collapsed Genoa bridge," 21 Dec. 2018 But these savings were trivial compared with those that would come when Fred Trump transferred his empire — the actual bricks and mortar — to his children. Susanne Craig, The Seattle Times, "Trump engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from father," 2 Oct. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for trivial

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trivial

The first known use of trivial was in 1589

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More Definitions for trivial

trivial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of trivial

: not important

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on trivial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trivial

Spanish Central: Translation of trivial

Nglish: Translation of trivial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trivial for Arabic Speakers

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