Definition of trio in US English:



  • 1A set or group of three people or things.

    ‘the hotel was run by a trio of brothers’
    • ‘The trio enjoyed a pair of movies, one comedy and one drama, and overall, Avery thought the evening had gone well.’
    • ‘He said that after getting a lift out to the bar with his brother at around 3.40p.m., the trio watched the match and had around three drinks each.’
    • ‘Working in pairs or trios, students identified examples of these repetition strategies in the speeches they read.’
    • ‘The Sunday paper was shared, they walked along the ocean from time to time in pairs, trios and sometimes the whole group.’
    • ‘The withdrawal of the Godolphin trio will hit the number of overseas horses competing.’
    • ‘We meet a trio of Irish-American brothers who return to the homeland to teach Catholic and Protestant kids how to surf together.’
    • ‘These works, paintings of a sort, may consist of single rectangles, a pair or a trio.’
    • ‘The trio went through the exercise a couple more times.’
    • ‘There are many trios of numbers that you can use as x, y, and z here.’
    • ‘The trio, including a pair dressed as Batman and Robin, were brought down from the roof at 7.10 am after protesting for 40 minutes.’
    • ‘Heart valves are pairs or trios of flaps that keep the blood flowing in one direction through the heart.’
    • ‘However, it was the photo opportunity in a gondola that proved to be a huge success and dozens of people lined up in couples, trios and large groups for a chance to capture the moment on film.’
    • ‘Giant frogfish occur singly, in pairs, or in trios.’
    • ‘The pedestal pieces that were presented in pairs or trios in the gallery's main room have sensory gerund titles: Listening, Watching, Breathing.’
    • ‘But the York trio picked up three shots to level the scores and gain a valuable point.’
    • ‘The varied groupings of pairs, trios, and sixes massing together and flying apart proved timeless, however.’
    • ‘Individuals may be found in pairs, trios, or male-dominated harems depending on the species.’
    • ‘At both venues he backed artists of worldwide fame and made a number of radio and television broadcasts with his trio.’
    • ‘Climbers pile up as harnesses and shoes and ropes come out, helmets are donned, groups splinter into pairs and trios, and the conga line slowly inches up the mountain.’
    • ‘Working with six to 12 year olds the trio led activities in German and went on a number of excursions.’
    threesome, three, triumvirate, triad, troika, triplex, trinity, trilogy, triptych, triplets
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    1. 1.1 A group of three musicians.
      ‘a jazz trio’
      • ‘The musicians from the Laureate trio staged a virtuoso performance at a concert marking the launching of their new album on Monday.’
      • ‘If you enjoy a little more excitement, successful duos, trios and other small ensembles with mixed instrumentation can begin at a surprisingly early age.’
      • ‘Over the years, he has led big bands and played with trios, quartets, and other types of groups as well as playing solo.’
      • ‘She sings with jazz duos and trios around Yorkshire as well as organising European tours for local jazz bands.’
      • ‘He is joined by a trio of musicians who have a progressive vision of what jazz ought to be.’
      • ‘Angus can perform with as few as a trio of fellow musicians.’
      • ‘He believes that you increase your understanding by playing in small ensembles - three, four or five people in trios, quartets and quintets.’
      • ‘Visitors can be entranced by the different sounds of a trio, quartet or quintet.’
      • ‘He has played at Jazz festivals across Europe and the USA and in various Jazz quartets and trios and as a member of the Dutch Jazz Orchestra.’
      • ‘The trio perform jazz favourites from Dixieland to ragtime, boogie woogie and swing.’
      • ‘As a child, you were already playing in a family chamber music trio.’
      • ‘Though she has gigged with a jazz quartet, a jazz trio, and as the lead voice for a funk / R & B band, she's now focusing on her own thing.’
      • ‘The concert opened with the trio performing Mozart's A Spring Rondo, which set the tone for the evening.’
      • ‘By the park entrance, a trio of young musicians performed unamplified bluegrass tunes.’
      • ‘The beautiful sense of orchestral chamber music the trio brought to the Largo was memorable.’
      • ‘He had formed a violin trio with his two brothers after giving up a career in medicine for music.’
      • ‘A jazz trio will play and there will be a magician and circus performer.’
      • ‘The trio performed its first concert as part of the Arts Week.’
      • ‘Though the small room was jam-packed that evening, it proved to be a very intimate setting for a jazz trio concert.’
      • ‘The host school itself has six groups taking part a brass band, brass ensemble, junior brass trio and brass quintet, as well as a wind band and a clarinet choir.’
    2. 1.2 A composition written for three musicians.
      ‘Chopin's G minor Trio’
      • ‘Wind trios for such combinations as flute, clarinet, and bassoon have been written by a number of composers, as have brass trios for trumpet, horn, and trombone or other combinations.’
      • ‘We learn, for instance, how his wife played a crucial role in the composition of the sublime trio at the end of Der Rosenkavalier.’
      • ‘This trio was composed the same summer as the B Minor quintet Op 115.’
      • ‘Composed in 1797 to 1798, this is the work of a young Beethoven who, after moving on to the string quartet genre after the three trios of op. 9, never wrote another string trio.’
      • ‘The three sing a wondrous trio where Claire supports the voices with some strikingly dark instrumental timbres.’
    3. 1.3 The central, typically contrastive, section of a minuet, scherzo, or march.
      • ‘He is at his best in the many lyrical sections of the piece, which include most of the outer movements as well as the wistful trio of the middle scherzo movement.’
      • ‘In the second movement, for example, it appears pretty much as itself, while in the trio of the scherzo third, Antheil transforms it into a fugal subject.’
      • ‘This is particularly true of the Classical minuet and trio, where the ternary structure arises from the repeat of the minuet after the trio, though each section may be in either binary or ternary form.’
      • ‘A contrasting trio section in staccato thirds perhaps implies a child's tip-toe dance.’
      • ‘Formally, the Posthorn episode takes the place of the trio in the would-be scherzo of the third movement.’
    4. 1.4 (in piquet) a set of three aces, kings, queens, jacks, or tens held in one hand.
      • ‘Similarly, the player with the better trio or quatorze can also score any other trios and quatorzes they hold, but the other player scores nothing for any trios or quatorzes.’
      • ‘For example, a hand of 10, Q, K and 4 is a trio, because if the Four of Clubs were a black Jack it would have been a winning hand.’
      • ‘The art of the bluff used in Ambusch is to trick your opponent into laying down a winning trio before they wanted to even if you do not have a winning trio in your hand.’
      • ‘Once a player has put down the initial contract for the round, he is allowed in subsequent turns to put down cards from his hand to extend any trios or escaleras which are already on the table - his own or other people's.’
      • ‘Three aces are the best trio and three twos are the lowest.’


Early 18th century: from Italian, from Latin tres ‘three’, on the pattern of duo.