The word *trivia* is believed to have originated from the Roman word *trivium*, which used to denote a junction of three (or more) lanes in a town. Apparently, common townsfolk used to gather at such meeting points, making small talk, and hence the topics they discussed came to be described as *trivial*. Another possible origin is the *trivium* or first three subjects taught as liberal arts, namely grammar, rhetoric, and logic; the remaining four liberal arts of the *quadrivium* were more mathematical and therefore seen as being harder and more serious, namely arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

Gradually, the word **trivia** came to be applied for any information that is of fleeting importance and of general interest.

See list of trivia lists for typical topics and areas. In respect to Roman mythology, see Trivia (Roman mythology).