from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A process for sorting injured people into groups based on their need for or likely benefit from immediate medical treatment. Triage is used in hospital emergency rooms, on battlefields, and at disaster sites when limited medical resources must be allocated.
  • n. A system used to allocate a scarce commodity, such as food, only to those capable of deriving the greatest benefit from it.
  • n. A process in which things are ranked in terms of importance or priority: "For millions of Americans, each week becomes a stressful triage between work and home that leaves them feeling guilty, exhausted and angry” ( Jill Smolowe).
  • transitive v. To sort or allocate by triage: triaged the patients according to their symptoms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Assessment or sorting according to quality.
  • n. The process of sorting patients so as to determine the order in which they will be treated (for example, by assigning precedence according to the urgency of illness or injury).
  • n. The process of prioritizing bugs to be fixed.
  • v. To assess or sort according to quality or some other aspect.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which is culled, picked, or thrown out; specifically, in English use, the refuse of whole coffee; broken coffee-beans and chaff.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. sorting and allocating aid on the basis of need for or likely benefit from medical treatment or food


French, from trier, to sort, from Old French.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French triage, from trier ("to sort") (Wiktionary)


  • OSBORN: Now, Mr. Langford, we've heard the term triage a lot this morning.

    CNN Transcript Jun 29, 2003

  • For the last six years, we've been repairing these barracks in keeping what I call triage on them so that they're safe, clean, and livable, but they're certainly not the barracks we want these great soldiers to live in.

    CNN Transcript Apr 30, 2008

  • GENERAL RICHARD CODY, U.S. ARMY VICE CHIEF OF S.AFF: For the last six years, we have been repairing these barracks and keeping what I call triage on them, so that they're safe, clean and livable.

    CNN Transcript Apr 30, 2008

  • RICHARD CODY, U.S. ARMY VICE CHIEF OF S.AFF: For the last six years, we've been repairing these barracks, in keeping what I call triage on them so they are safe, clean and livable.

    CNN Transcript Apr 30, 2008

  • And then I got sent up to what they called triage, because I'd hurt my back and no one had a phone up there.

    CNN Transcript Mar 24, 2005

  • "I was in what I call triage mode, doing the most urgent tasks at any given time, whether that was distribution, advertising, reporting, writing, editing, or layout, but nothing was getting all the time or attention it needed," he says.


  • We then go through a process we call triage: Which of the ideas we generated are really worth pursuing?

    The Next Smart Thing

  • The spending by outside groups affiliated with Democrats is further evidence that the party is in triage mode, trying to fix the problems of the Coakley campaign through an major influx of cash and commercials.

    Matthew Yglesias » The Limits of Scott Brown

  • Those predictions come as Democrats seem to be in triage mode -- spending money on people like Rep. Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Ron Klein (Fla.) and Gary Peters (Mich.) seemingly in hopes of limiting a blowout loss nationally rather than holding the majority.

    The Fix 50 (plus 15): Democratic House majority in deep peril

  • The purpose of triage is to quickly assess your child's needs and to begin planning his/her care.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Used in the same context: cannibalization.

    Used in the same context is the new WeirdNet!

    August 20, 2010

  • "A term that originated on the battlefield, triage is the evaluation of patient conditions for urgency and seriousness, and establishment of a priority list for multiple patients. In the setting of managed care, triage is often performed after office hours on the telephone by a nurse or other health professional to screen patients for emergency treatments."
    - Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital and Medical Clinic

    October 22, 2007