How Did the Word “Trivia” For Useless Information Originate and What Does it Mean?

The Romans were well-known for their road building.

From their Latin phrase “noun trivium”, meaning a place where three roads meet, there derived a word for insignificant information.

At a three-road intersection, traffic would slow and congest, offering a great chance for light gossip and meaningless conversation.

So from tri, meaning “three,” and via, meaning “roadway,” the Romans gave us trivia, a word for useless information.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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