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The oxford dictionary gives the meaning of "trivial" as:

  • of little value or importance (synonyms: unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, minor)

Can this word be used to denote something, which is not of little value, but is still easy?

For example

  • "This is a very trivial process" - denoting a process which is very easy, but not necessarily unimportant.
  • Might be worth noting that in mathematics, 'trivial' is used to refer to a very obvious or simple statement. For example, for the problem find a factor of N, 1 and N are trivial solutions. – user252723 Sep 19 '17 at 7:29
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I often use "trivial" to mean "evident, obvious", which is what you're asking about (if I understand you correctly).

However, I've noticed that while this is valid in Dutch (my native language) it is not valid in English. In English, "trivial" only means "of little importance":

  1. Of little value or importance.
    ‘huge fines were imposed for trivial offences’
    ‘trivial details’

    1.1 (of a person) concerned only with petty things.


  • I once heard someone express concern about learning a particular computer program (e.g., Excel); a native English-speaking Nobel Laureate replied "That's trivial." So, in his view, learning it was a trivial matter. – Xanne Sep 19 '17 at 8:10
  • @Xanne: It's all connected. If using the application is "self-evident" (OP's suggestion for trivial), then taking lessons on how to use the application are "pointless" (the OED definition of trivial). The two meanings overlap, but they focus on different things. The OED definition is closer to saying "[this thing] is pointless", but the non-OED meaning is closer to saying "any further explanation about [this thing] is pointless". Similar, but not the same. – Flater Sep 19 '17 at 8:15
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The Oxford Dictionaries is always right, well, at least most of the times. Trivial is not the same as easy. It means unimportant or insignificant.

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