Definition of trivium in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtrivēəm/ /ˈtrɪviəm/


  • An introductory curriculum at a medieval university involving the study of grammar, rhetoric, and logic.

    Compare with quadrivium

    ‘His initial studies covered the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.’
    • ‘And yet our curricula still reflect the priorities of the 1893 Committee of Ten, if not the shadows of the medieval trivium and quadrivium.’
    • ‘In medieval terms, the Platonic approach locates music in the quadrivium, as a branch of mathematics, while the Aristotelian locates it with the practical arts of the trivium, grammar, rhetoric, and logic.’
    • ‘After completion of the trivium, medieval pupils graduated to the more challenging ‘quadrivium’ of music, astronomy, geometry, and arithmetic.’
    • ‘The three basic arts - grammar, logic, and rhetoric - were known as the trivium.’


Early 19th century from Latin, literally ‘place where three roads meet’, from tri- ‘three’ + via ‘road’.