The word trishul I think denotes the three points of the shulam. The "tri" in trishulam = is it from Sanskrit or English like trinity.

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    Yes, Tri denotes 3... TriShualam means which has three Shulas (pointed end)... That's why Lord Shiva is also called Shulapani, Tridhulapani etc... the English word 'three' might have been derived from Sanskrit word 'Tri'...
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 6:11
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    @Tezz you are correct. Three is derived from Sanskrita word 'Tri'.
    – user9392
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 8:16
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    No, English "three" is not derived from Sanskrit "tri", although they are related.
    – chepner
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 14:26
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    @chepner, says who ? 'two' comes from sanskrit 'dve'. 'three' from 'tri', 'eight' from 'ashta' etc. I can give you hundred other words that are derived from sanskrit - 'prime' from 'param', 'surrender', from 'sharan', 'daughter' from 'dauhitri', 'cow' from 'go' etc. list goes on. Sanskrit is the original root for germanic/european languages
    – ram
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 0:59
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    Sanskrit is one of the earliest attested languages derived from PIE, but it is not the direct ancestor of the other branches of PIE.
    – chepner
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 1:32

3 Answers 3


With no doubt, "tri" in त्रिशूल (triśūla) is Sanskrit. You can check it in any Sanskrit dictionary, such as Apte or Monier-Williams.

Etymology of English word three or tri is

From Middle English thre, threo, thrie, thri, from Old English þreō, þriē, þrī, from Proto-Germanic *þrīz, from Proto-Indo-European *tréyes.

As per Western Linguists, PIE or Proto-Indo-European language is common ancestor of all Indo European Languages, including Deva Bhasha or Deva Vani (देव वाणि) संस्कृतम् (Saṃskṛtam). Obviously, those who know about structure of Sanskrit and its semantics will never believe in this PIE theory.

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    Could you elaborate on the part about PIE theory? I read the article you linked but it really comes off as hugely biased to me.
    – Zavior
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 12:40
  • @Zavior Sanskrit is language of attributes with no proper nouns. People are named after attributes. All names of Gods (different Gods) in Hinduism you see are different attributes of one Supreme Being (Brahman or Parabrahma). Given this, there can't be ancestor for Sanskrit. Sanskrit doesn't evolve wrt to semantics. For many English words, we can name Sanskrit equivalents if we know about attributes of Objects (we can give multiples names for same object as a object can have multiple attributes)..
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 12:54
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    Since various words in the proto-Indo-European language are not exactly the same as they are in Sanskrit, and PIE is linguistically dated to before Sanskrit, it is also appropriate to call it the common ancestor. What you are saying merely means you would prefer to call PIE as a proto-sanskrit?
    – Pranab
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 1:25
  • @Pranab How can they prove Sanskrit has ancestor when Dhatus of Sanskrit are fixed?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 8:22
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    Your answer is referred as bad linguistics here: reddit.com/r/badlinguistics/comments/6gwewv/… Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 8:50

The "tri" in trishulam is from Sanskrit. Later Indo and European languages had taken from Sanskrit.

In sanskrit threee is denoted by Trí (three), त्रीणि - trīṇi , त्रयः - trayaḥ etc.

There are more examples where Latin and Greek words resemble sanskrit

ashta (eight) - octo (Latin)

sarpa (snake) -- serpens (Latin)

pitar (father) -- pater (Latin), pater (Greek)

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    They are not taken from Sanskrit, but all these languages have a common ancestor. The difference is substantial.
    – Pranab
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 1:25

Here, "tri" is from Sanskrit.

Actually, the prefix "tri-" is not of English origin. It is borrowed from Latin "tri-" and Ancient Greek "τρι-". Latin and Ancient Greek are closely related to Sanskrit, hence the "tri-" in Sanskrit as well.

However, English shares a common ancestor with Latin, Greek and Sanskrit as well, and English "three" is related to all three of the above.

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