Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Trivialis

Floccinaucinihilipilification. No I didn't just slam my forehead on the keyboard, it's a real word. It's the categorising of something that is useless or trivial. I think I do that a bit. I'll have to make a note of being a floccinaucinihilipilificationist. Despite it's meaning, the pronunciation of floccinaucinihilipilification is no trivial task.

As far as I'm concerned, trivialis is the original, more correct descriptive term, not the term trivial. Like most words, trivia originally derived from the Latin, tri meaning triple and via meaning way, "a place where three ways meet".

The word trivia was used to describe a place where three roads met in Ancient Rome. All of which roads were said to lead to Rome, but that probably had something to do with them being built by Romans, and Rome is where the Romans wanted to go when they finished roaming around.  Later the term trivialis became a derogatory term meaning "appropriate to the street corner".

Eventually trivia began referring to the lower division of the Artes Liberales (liberal arts), basic education, being: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. The higher division of the Liberal Arts was the quadrivia, higher education. The quadrivia (four ways) being: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. So things not of the higher education (the quadvia) became referred to as trivial.

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