The Meaning of Triumph: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of triumph? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word triumph, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word triumph mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, Dictionary, and Cambridge Dictionary, the word triumph (pronounced ˈtraɪəmf) is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, the word is used to refer to some great success, achievement or victory. This is particularly used when it comes to battles and conquests. It can also describe the feelings of joy that are associated with such victory. As a verb, the word triumph is used to refer to the action of gaining victory over an opponent, or to have some great success. This exultation of victory might cause someone jubilation, and they may even gloat due to their proud victory. A victorious general in Ancient Rome may consider themselves triumphant when they win a battle. Great triumph often brings people great joy. This state of joy is also known as triumph. This successful ending of a struggle often causes elation, hence the secondary meaning of the word triumph.

The word triumph is also present in many other languages. You may notice that many of these words look similar and sound similar to the word triumph. This is likely because they are of a common origin. Often, words with a similar origin will be cognates for each other. This list of translations for the word triumph is provided by Word Sense.

  • Japanese: 勝利‎ (しょうり, shōri), 偉業‎ (いぎょう, igyō)
  • Dutch: triomf‎
  • Bokmål: triumf‎ (masc.)
  • Georgian: ტრიუმფი‎
  • Spanish: triunfo‎ (masc.)
  • Thai: ชัย‎ (chai)
  • Portuguese: triunfo‎ (masc.)
  • Danish: triumf‎ (common)
  • Hungarian: diadal‎
  • Latin: triumphus‎ (masc.)
  • Persian: پیروزی‎ (piruzi)
  • Finnish: voitto‎, riemuvoitto‎
  • Hebrew: נִצָּחוֹן‎ (nitsahon)
  • Russian: триу́мф‎ (masc.), побе́да‎ (fem.)
  • Korean: 승리‎ (勝利‎)
  • Romanian: triumf‎ (neut.)
  • Armenian: տրիումֆ‎, հաղթանակ‎
  • Nynorsk: triumf‎ (masc.)
  • Catalan: triomf‎ (masc.)
  • Chinese – Mandarin: 凱旋‎, 凯旋‎ (kǎixuán), 勝利‎, 胜利‎ (shènglì)
  • Indonesian: kemenangan‎
  • Greek: θρίαμβος‎ (masc.)
  • Italian: trionfo‎ (masc.)
  • Turkish: zafer‎
  • German: Triumph‎ (masc.)
  • French: triomphe‎ (masc.)
  • Marathi: विजय‎

What is the origin of the word triumph?

According to Etymonline, the noun triumph has been used since the late 14th century to refer to some success in battle or conquest. This was also used to mean a spiritual victory or celebration. This word comes from the Old French triumphe which was used in the 12th century. In Modern French, this is the word triomphe. This comes from the Latin triumphus which is a word that means achievement or success, or some celebration for said victory or success. This comes from the Old Latin triumpus which probably came from Etruscan. The Etruscan word likely came from the Greek thriambos, which was a hymn to the god Dionysus. This is what is considered a loan word from a pre-Hellenic language. The word triumph was used as a verb starting in the mid-15th century. This word is of similar origins and comes from the Old French triumpher, a verb used in the 13th century. This comes from the Latin triumphare and triumphus. Related words include triumphed, triumphing, triumphant, triumphal, and trump. 

How can the word triumph be used in a sentence?

The word triumph can be used in many contexts as a noun or a verb to describe some great victory or success. In this example, Natasha has just been awarded the end of year cross country championship, but she looks sad. Her friend Gemma asks her what’s wrong.

Gemma: Natasha, why are you so sad? You just had a huge triumph, you’re the fastest one one the team. Why so blue?

Natasha: I dunno, it just doesn’t really feel like a triumph. Like, we had two seniors out and they were super fast. It just feels like everyone’s mad at me. I didn’t choose to get the award.

Gemma: They’re not mad, they’re jealous. Be proud of your victory.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word triumph?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word triumph These are considered synonyms, which are words that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word triumph is provided by Thesaurus

  • conquest
  • tour de force
  • big win
  • homer
  • riot
  • cinch
  • success
  • vanquishment
  • splash
  • sure thing
  • ascendancy
  • hit
  • sell
  • accomplishment
  • surmounting
  • takeover
  • shoo-in
  • grand slam
  • feat
  • pushover
  • exultation
  • gain
  • feather in cap
  • win
  • sure bet
  • smash-hit
  • hole in one
  • big hit
  • score
  • walkover
  • clean sweep
  • attainment
  • sensation
  • the gold
  • coup
  • vanquishing

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as the word triumph. These are considered antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you want to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word triumph is also provided by Thesaurus

  • decline
  • deficit
  • fiasco
  • sinking ship
  • failure
  • loss
  • defeat
  • misstep
  • implosion
  • stalemate
  • bungle
  • bomb
  • breakdown
  • bust
  • collapse
  • flop
  • botch
  • rupture
  • misadventure
  • deficiency
  • deterioration
  • decay
  • wreck
  • miscarriage
  • stoppage
  • bankruptcy
  • loser
  • nonsuccess
  • frustration
  • turkey
  • washout
  • lead balloon
  • failing
  • downfall
  • flash in the pan
  • false step
  • mess
  • checkmate
  • inadequacy
  • overthrow
  • faux pas
  • rout
  • lemon
  • abortion
  • nonperformance
  • total loss

Overall, the word triumph can either be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, it refers to some great victory or success, such as a personal triumph over smoking after one quits. It can also refer to the glee that comes from said victory. As a verb, the word triumph refers to the action of obtaining the victory itself.

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/triumph/
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/triumph
  3. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/failure
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/word/triumph
  5. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/triumph
  6. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/triumph
  7. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/triumph