Biology Relating to or designating a species; specific.
a. Of, relating to, or being the solution of an equation in which every variable is equal to zero.
b. Of, relating to, or being the simplest possible case; self-evident.
Origin: Middle English trivialle, of the trivium (from Medieval Latin triviālis, from trivium, trivium; see trivium) and Latin triviālis, ordinary (from trivium, crossroads).
Word History: The word trivial entered Middle English with senses quite different from its most common contemporary ones. We find in a work from 1432-50 mention of the “arte trivialle,” an allusion to the three liberal arts that made up the trivium, the lower division of the seven liberal arts taught in medieval universities—grammar, rhetoric, and logic. The history of trivial goes back to the Latin word trivium, formed from the prefix tri-, “three,” and via, “road.” Trivium thus meant “the meeting place of three roads, especially as a place of public resort.” The publicness of such a place also gave the word a pejorative sense that we express in the phrase the gutter, as in “His manners were formed in the gutter.” The Latin adjective triviālis, derived from trivium, thus meant “appropriate to the street corner, commonplace, vulgar.” Trivial is first recorded in English with a sense identical to that of triviālis in 1589. Shortly after that trivial is recorded in the sense most familiar to us, “of little importance or significance,” making it a word now used of things less weighty than grammar, rhetoric, and logic.