triviata
(tri.vee.AT.uh) n. Trivial things; a collection of trivial facts.

Example Citation:
"Tooth and Nail" has been billed as, "a NOVEL approach to the SAT," and it is truly just that, for embedded in the 283-page text are over 1,100 typical SAT words — words like munificence, penury and antediluvian...

As laudable as is its academic value, the most captivating facet of "Tooth and Nail" is the mesmerizing mystery woven amongst the vocabulary and Shakespearian triviata. Assassination, conflagration, laceration, prevarication and all the necessary elements of a titillating and provocative murder mystery are present in plentiful doses.
—Keri Blakinger, "A little SAT preparation between the bindings," Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA), July 14, 2001

Earliest Citation:
Say hello to nationally syndicated radio show host Bruce Morrow, who'll bow at 6 p.m. today at Chevy's with his collection of memorabilia of the Brits musical invasion of the 1960s. The twist here is that the collection will be housed in an 8-by-10-foot time capsule. Morrow's road show consists of inviting the audience to participate in the celebration of the capsule's forthcoming burial in Merry Old England. The capsule will include a suit that Beatle John Lennon wore in several concerts; a shirt that belonged to the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts; a guitar from the Animals; and other triviata.
—Jerry Berger, "'Wacker rammers' on city's wish list," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 28, 1989

Notes:
Today's word is an extension of the word trivia (1902) and it seems to be based on plural forms such as errata and desiderata. It first appeared in the book title Triviata: A Compendium of Useless Information, which was published by Timothy Fullerton in 1975.

Over the next 10 years or so, it showed up in the media various times as a misspelling of Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata. In July 1985, The New York Times reported on a theater troupe performing a "10-minute travesty" of La Traviata that was called Triviata.

In 1989, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper began a semi-regular feature titled "La Triviata," which offered up a few bits of trivia. (The paper still runs the "La Triviata" feature, as does the Los Angeles Times, only theirs is called "L.A. Triviata.") Shortly after that, the same newspaper used triviata alone (see the earliest citation, below) and the word's career has been a success ever since.

Related Words:

Categories: