Things trivial

Always fascinated by the origin of words, today’s fare from the “Word of the Day” by Merriam Webster brought to my attention the word “trivial.” We moderns use the word to describe something barely worth mentioning. We adopted the word trivial from Latin trivialis in the 16th century. Then the meaning was just what its Latin ancestor meant: “found everywhere, commonplace.” But the source of trivialis is about something more specific: trivium, from tri- (three) and via (way), meaning “crossroads; place where three roads meet.” The link between the two presumably has to do with the commonplace sorts of things a person is likely to encounter at a busy crossroads. If we returned to the original meaning then Starbucks would become trivial – no less important to modern life – but “trivial” all the same.

Image credit: Dom J @

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