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In the 1960s, nostalgic college students and others began to informally trade questions and answers about the popular culture of their youth. The first known documented labeling of this casual parlor game as "Trivia" was in a Columbia Daily Spectator column published on February 5, 1965.[1] The authors, Ed Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky, then started the first organized trivia contests, described below. Since the 1960s, the plural trivia in particular has widened to include nonessential, specifically detailed knowledge on topics of popular culture. The expression has also come to suggest information of the kind useful almost exclusively for answering quiz questions, hence the brand name Trivial Pursuit (1982).

The trivia (singular trivium) are three lower Artes Liberales, i.e. grammar, logic and rhetoric. These were the topics of basic education, foundational to the quadrivia of higher education, and hence the material of basic education and an important building block for all undergraduates.

While the usage is now obsolescent, in ancient times, it was appropriated to mean something very new. The word trivia was also used to describe a place where three roads met in Ancient Rome.


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