A trident (PronEng|ˈtrаɪdənt), also called a leister or gig, is a three-pronged spear. It is used for spear fishing and was formerly also a military weapon. Tridents feature widely in mythical, historical and modern culture. The trident is also Satan's weapon.


"Trident" is from French "trident", from Latin "tridens" or "tridentis": "tri" "three" and "dentes" "teeth". Several Indian languages use a similar word for "trident", "trishula", derived from Sanskrit, meaning "triple spear".


Tridents for fishing usually have barbed tines which trap the speared fish firmly. In the southern USA, "gigging" is used for catching bullfrogs, flounder, and sometimes carp.

Military use

As a weapon, the trident was prized for its long reach and ability to trap other long-weapons between prongs to disarm their wielder. Tridents were also famously used by the "retiarii", Roman gladiators who cast a net to wrap their adversary and a trident to kill him.

Symbolic use

Parallel to its fishing origins, the trident is associated with Poseidon, the god of the sea in Greek mythology, the Roman god Neptune, and Shiva, a Hindu god. In Greek myth, Poseidon used his trident to create water sources in Greece and the horse (by striking a camel). Poseidon, as well as being god of the sea, was also known as the "Earth Shaker" when he struck the earth in anger he caused mighty earthquakes and he used his trident to stir up tidal waves, tsunamis and sea storms. In Roman myth, Neptune also used a trident to create new bodies of water and cause earthquakes. A good example can be seen in Gian Bernini's "Neptune and Triton".

A trident has also references as:

* Cadbury Schweppes Trident, a brand of chewing gum. Named after the three plaque-softening enzymes included in the original formula.
* The Coat of arms of Ukraine (Tryzub) - the symbol of ancient Slavic tribes that once lived in Ukraine.
* The National emblem of the Flag of Barbados
* The US Navy Special Warfare insignia, worn by members of the US Navy SEALs, contains a trident representing the three aspects (Sea, Air, and Land) of SEAL special operations.
* The golden colored crest of the United States Naval Academy depicts a trident running vertically in its background.
* The symbol of the Swedish Coastal Rangers, Kustjägarna
* Adopted by the Russian anti-Soviet revolutionary organization NTS as the "forks of the people's anger".
* The trident or "Trishula" is the missile weapon of the Hindu god Shiva, and it often includes a crossed stabiliser to facilitate its flight when thrown.
* The BSD Daemon carries a trident to symbolize the forking of processes in an operating system.

Popular culture

* The all inclusive resort company Club Med uses a trident in its company logo.
* The Italian automobile manufacturer Maserati uses a trident in its company logo.
* "Trident" is the name of the US Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile program, consisting of Ohio class submarines and "Trident II" D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It is so named because of its role in the three-pronged SIOP nuclear war plan, based around sea-launched SLBMs first, followed by land-launched ICBMs, and lastly free-fall nuclear bombs delivered by air from strategic bombers.
* Trident also refers to the Royal Navy's nuclear Ballistic Missile system, consisting of Vanguard class submarines and Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The name was chosen for the same reason as the US Trident.
* Hawker Siddeley Trident was a British jet airliner produced by Hawker Siddley at Hatfield in the 1960s, named after the tri-jet engine configuration.
* The Trident was a popular restaurant in the Marin county harbor town of Sausalito, California during the 1960s and 70s. It was owned by the popular folk group The Kingston Trio and operated by their manager Frank Werber. Many famous patrons frequently visited including Janis Joplin, Bill Cosby and David Crosby. The Rolling Stones held a private party at the eatery in 1974. [ Trident restaurant memories, mid-1960s through to the mid-1970s]
* As a throwback symbol during the baseball team Seattle Mariners' 1977 season


* In "Drowned Wednesday", part of the "Keys to the Kingdom Series" by Garth Nix, Wednesday's Key is a trident.
* In the "Percy Jackson & The Olympians" series of novels by Rick Riordan, as in Greek mythology, the trident is a symbol of the Olympian Glory. It appears over a demigod's head when Poseidon claims the individual as his own.


* In DC Comics, the superhero Blue Devil carries a trident.
* In DC Comics, the superhero Aquaman sometimes carries a trident.
* In Marvel Comics, the superhero Namor the Sub-Mariner sometimes carries a trident.


* In the "Masters of the Universe" toy line and cartoon series, Spikor, an evil henchman of Skeletor, has an extendable trident in place of his left hand. The three points fire lasers.
* In seaQuest DSV the logo of the United Earth Oceans Organization is a trident centered over an image of the earth surrounded by a wreath.
* In "Reboot", AI AndrAIa uses a trident
* In one of the Bill Brasky sketches on "Saturday Night Live", Bill Brasky is said to have killed Wolfman Jack with a trident.
* Triceraranger/Blue Ranger from "Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger"/"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" is armed with a pair of tridents with circular ends that can join together.
* In the cartoon series "Ulysses 31" the Tridents were spacecraft used by the Gods of Olympus to attack Ulysses' ship, The Odyssey.


* It was King Triton's weapon of choice in Disney's "The Little Mermaid" (1989) and the weapon of choice of Diana from the PAX network's made for TV movie, "Mermaids" (2003).
* In the movie "", Brick Tamland uses a trident to kill a rival, later uttering the famous phrase, "There were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident."
* In "The Da Vinci Code," there is some discussion about the symbolic use of trident.
* In "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", the idiot-prince Ruprecht (Steve Martin) insists on holding a trident at the dinner table.


* In the popular RPG "Dungeons and Dragons", the trident is available as a weapon. It is largely similar to the spear, albeit more effective against charging opponents. However, it is lighter and deals less damage on a critical hit.

Video games

* In "", Felix and party collects the three pieces of the Trident of Ankhol, which is the only item able to break through Poseidon's impenetrable shield.
* In "Age of Mythology", the objective for the second mission involves getting a Poseidon statue's trident back to Atlantis.
* In "Vagrant Story", it is described as "a forked pole are with three tines."
* In "The Legend of Zelda" franchise, the antagonist Ganon sometimes uses a trident called the Trident of Power. This is seen in ' and later in '.
* In "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance", the trident is one of the more powerful spear weapons.
* Hydron, from "Red Earth", carries a huge trident as a weapon.
* Jiang Wei, from "Dynasty Warriors", uses a trident called "Blink".
* In the game "Dynasty Wariors 6", both Taishi Ci and Cao Ren use tridents
* In "Mortal Kombat 3", the harpoon of Smoke is a trident.

Pinball Machine

* In March of 1979, Stern Electronics released "Trident" a nautical themed game based on the mythological take on the three pointed spear. A "seagod" like character is depicted in the artwork fighting an octopus like monster of the deep. Stern produced 4019 of these machines.


* Mukuro Rokudo and Chrome Dokuro of the anime and manga "Katekyo Hitman REBORN!" use a trident as their weapon. The mosquitoes of Doctor Shamal also pierce their targets with a trident.
* In the anime and manga series "Bleach", the character Kaien Shiba wields a zanpakuto dubbed Nejibana that turns into a trident when in its initial release form.
* In "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing", the XXXG-01S2 "Altron" piloted by Chang Wufei uses a beam trident.
* In Inuyasha, Naraku forges a trident from his own bones and gives it to Abi-Hime to assist him with.
* In Ronin Warriors, Cye of the Torrent uses a trident capable of firing a high-powered beam of water.

ee also

* Eighteen Arms of Wushu
* Military fork
* Trishula
* Sai (weapon)
* Pitchfork
* Coat of arms of Ukraine


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • trident — [ tridɑ̃ ] n. m. • XIIIe; lat. tridens « à trois dents » 1 ♦ Fourche à trois dents, à trois pointes (attribut traditionnel de Neptune, dieu de la mer). Le trident du rétiaire. 2 ♦ (1611) Instrument agricole, bêche ou fourche à trois pointes.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Trident II D5 — Trident DII 5 Tipo Misil de largo alcance con capacidad de cabeza termonuclear. Historia de producción …   Wikipedia Español

  • Trident — (englisch für Dreizack) bezeichnet: Trident (SLBM), U Boot gestützte Atomwaffen der USA und Großbritanniens HMS Trident, mehrere Schiffe der Royal Navy Peel Trident, dreirädriger Kleinstwagen des britischen Automobilherstellers Peel Hawker… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • trident — TRIDÉNT, tridente, s.n. Furcă cu trei dinţi care era considerată în antichitate ca simbol al puterii zeului Neptun. – Din fr. trident, lat. tridens, ntis. Trimis de LauraGellner, 01.07.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  tridént s. n., pl. tridénte/tridénturi… …   Dicționar Român

  • Trident — Tri dent (tr[imac] dent), n. [L. tridens, entis; tri (see {Tri }) + dens tooth: cf. F. trident. See {Tooth}.] 1. (Class Myth.) A kind of scepter or spear with three prongs, the common attribute of Neptune. [1913 Webster] 2. (Rom. Antiq.) A three… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Trident — Trident, трайдент (англ. трезубец)  многозначный термин: Trident или MSHTML  ядро отображения страниц (layout engine) для Windows версии Microsoft Internet Explorer. Трайдент (ракета)  американская баллистическая ракета… …   Википедия

  • trident — Trident, Le trident de Neptune, Tridens, tridentis …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • trident — Trident. s. m. Fourche à trois dents ou pointes, que les Poëtes & les Peintres donnent pour arme à Neptune. Neptune avec son trident …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Trident — Tri dent, a. [L. tridens.] Having three teeth or prongs; tridentate. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Trident — Trident, Stadt, so v.w. Trient …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Tridént — Tridént, Stadt in Tirol, s. Trient …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”