Trivia - facts of no importance. For example, it's true that the Nile is the longest river on earth... but who cares? Trivia games are games in which participants compete in answering questions about trivia, and include Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy and Win Ben Stein's Money.

In Roman times, when you would come to a fork in the road, there would be signs up. The signs would point to three different cities. On each sign was a general census report about the city the sign pointed at.

  • Tri = Three
  • Via = Ways
  • Information on the sign about cities. 1+1+1 = Trivia.

    Today, it means a little known factoid about something not commonly known. Jeeze, isn't that ironic.

  • Actually, there's one more step we take to get from roads-in-Rome, to trivia.

    The word "trivia" directly comes from the words describing the first group of the Seven Liberal Arts.

    The Seven Liberal Arts can be arranged into two groups, the second group (known as the artes reales or physicae) is made up of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. The first group, though, is where "trivia" comes from.

    Grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic (the sciences of language, oratory, and logic) make up the first group, which is called artes triviales or trivium. They get their name from the junction of three roads and we, in turn, get 'trivia' directly from the group.

    Sound not quite as ironic now? :)


    Recent nodekillings have claimed the lives of 40% of E2's useless facts. We will rebuild. Let me know if you have anything that should be listed here.

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