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Trio vs. Trifecta — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on April 2, 2024
A trio refers to a group of three people or things, highlighting collaboration or collection, while a trifecta denotes a specific achievement or winning selection of three.
Trio vs. Trifecta — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Trio and Trifecta


Key Differences

A trio primarily signifies a group of three entities, often used to describe people, musical groups, or items that are linked together by a common purpose or characteristic. On the other hand, a trifecta is a term borrowed from the betting world, especially horse racing, where it refers to correctly predicting the first three finishers in a race in the correct order.
These entities of trio work collaboratively or are seen as a collective unit. For example, a jazz trio consisting of piano, bass, and drums showcases a musical ensemble working in harmony. The usage of trifecta has expanded beyond betting to denote any perfect group of three wins or achievements. For instance, winning an Oscar, a Grammy, and an Emmy constitutes a trifecta in the entertainment industry.
While a trio emphasizes the composition or grouping of three, a trifecta focuses on the achievement or success associated with selecting or winning a particular sequence of three. This distinction highlights how the context and connotation of these terms differ significantly, despite both relating to the number three.
In practical use, trio is often applied in more general and diverse contexts, such as in music, art, or social groups, showcasing the breadth of its application. It underscores the idea of collaboration or collective identity among three parties or objects. Conversely, trifecta, with its roots in gambling, carries a connotation of luck, strategy, and exceptional achievement. It's used to denote a remarkable accomplishment or the successful culmination of three specific outcomes or awards, thus carrying a sense of prestige and rarity.

Comparison Chart


A group of three people or things.
A selection or achievement of a winning set of three.


General usage in various contexts.
Originally from horse racing betting.


Music, social groups, collections.
Achievements, betting, awards.


Collaboration, ensemble, collective unit.
Success, achievement, rare accomplishment.

Primary Association

People or items grouped by a common characteristic.
Winning or achieving a specific, notable trio.

Compare with Definitions


A relationship or interaction among three individuals.
Their trio was known for groundbreaking scientific discoveries.


A group of three items or events considered in terms of their success or impact.
Their album was a trifecta of hits, charting for weeks.


Three people considered as a unit.
The trio of friends embarked on their adventure at dawn.


Achieving a notable set of three wins or accomplishments.
The director achieved the trifecta of major film awards this year.


A set or group of three items.
The artist's trio of paintings sold for a record amount.


A perfect combination or set of three elements.
The meal was a trifecta of flavor, presentation, and texture.


A combination or effect achieved by three elements.
The cocktail was a perfect trio of sweetness, bitterness, and acidity.


A bet in which the bettor must predict the first three finishers in exact order.
He won the trifecta at the horse race yesterday.


A group of three musicians playing together.
The jazz trio's performance was mesmerizing.


An instance of excelling in three different areas.
She completed the academic trifecta with awards in math, science, and literature.


A set or group of three people or things
The hotel was run by a trio of brothers


A trifecta is a parimutuel bet placed on a horse race in which the bettor must predict which horses will finish first, second, and third, in the exact order. Known as a trifecta in the US and Australia, this is known as a tricast in the UK, a tierce in Hong Kong, a triactor in Canada and a tiercé in France.


A composition for three voices or three instruments.


A system of betting in which the bettor must pick the first three winners in the correct sequence. Also called triple.


A group of three singers or three instrumentalists.


A bet in which the bettor must select the first three placegetters of a race in the order in which they finish.


The middle, contrasting section of a minuet, scherzo, march, or various other forms.


The attainment of three important achievements, qualities, etc.


A group of three.


A set of three related things, often things that cause problems.


A group of three people or things.


(US politics) The complete legislative and executive control of state or federal government by one party: governorship, the upper house, and the lower house of state or federal legislatures. The party that holds all three positions of power is said to have a trifecta.


A group of three musicians.


(music) A piece of music written for three musicians.


(music) A passage in the middle of a minuet, frequently in a different key.


Any cocktail made with a spirit, a liqueur, and a creamy ingredient.


Three, considered collectively; three in company or acting together; a set of three; three united.
The trio were well accustomed to act together, and were linked to each other by ties of mutual interest.


A composition for three parts or three instruments.


The cardinal number that is the sum of one and one and one


A musical composition for three performers


Three performers or singers who perform together


A set of three similar things considered as a unit


Three people considered as a unit

Common Curiosities

How does a trifecta differ from a simple win?

A trifecta involves predicting or achieving the first three positions or accomplishments in exact order, making it a more specific and challenging achievement than a simple win.

What is a trio in music?

A trio in music refers to a group of three musicians performing together, often characterized by a specific arrangement or ensemble, such as a piano trio.

Does the term trio always imply collaboration?

While trio often implies collaboration or a collective identity, especially in music or group activities, it can also simply denote a set or group of three without implying collaboration.

How does one achieve a trifecta in awards?

Achieving a trifecta in awards typically involves winning three prestigious awards in a particular field, such as the entertainment industry's EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).

Can a trifecta be used metaphorically?

Yes, trifecta is frequently used metaphorically to describe a perfect or notable combination of three achievements or qualities.

Is a trio limited to certain fields or disciplines?

No, the concept of a trio is versatile and can be applied across various fields, including music, art, literature, and social groups, reflecting its broad applicability.

Can a trio involve objects instead of people?

Yes, a trio can involve a set or group of three objects, highlighting a collection or combination based on a common characteristic.

What makes a trifecta significant?

A trifecta is significant because it denotes a rare achievement of correctly selecting or winning a specific sequence of three, often associated with skill, luck, or prestige.

What distinguishes a trio from a triolet in poetry?

A trio refers to a group of three, while a triolet is a specific eight-line poem with a rhyme scheme and repeated lines, showcasing the diverse application of "trio" concepts.

Is trifecta used outside of betting?

Yes, trifecta is used beyond betting to describe any scenario where three specific successes or achievements are obtained, often in a notable or prestigious context.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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