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

  • n. Any of the examinations for the B.A. degree with honors at Cambridge University in England.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A three-legged structure; a tripod.
  • n. Any of the final examinations for a BA honours degree at Cambridge University.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A tripod.
  • n. A university examination of questionists, for honors; also, a tripos paper; one who prepares a tripos paper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A tripod.
  • n. In Cambridge University, England, the list of the successful candidates for honors in the departments specified in the quotation; also, the honor examination itself in any of these departments.

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

  • n. final honors degree examinations at Cambridge University


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

Alteration of Latin tripūs, tripod-, tripod (from the stool upon which a degree holder was appointed to sit and dispute humorously with candidates for that degree); see tripod.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Alteration of Latin tripus, as though with a Greek ending.


  • Candidates for honours have to pass in certain additional subjects in their "little go", being then exempt from further examination until the final, or "tripos" -- a word sometimes derived from the three-legged stool on which candidates formerly sat, but now referring to the three classes into which successful candidates are divided.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • Oxygen is indispensable for the life of the tissues, and its supply is dependent upon the integrity of the three organs mentioned, which have been called the tripos of life.

    Disease and Its Causes

  • And Daniel in particular went on to use it as a home from home whento his surprise, I think, and certainly to ourshe eventually settled in Israel after his graduation, with a double first, in his tripos course of archaeology, anthropology and social and political science, from Cambridge.

    A Question of Honour

  • Thales sent the golden tripos, which the fishermen found, and the oracle commanded to be [429] given to the wisest, to Bias,

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • He got a 'double first' anyone who's survived the Cambridge music tripos will know that that takes a lot of doing, then headed for postgraduate studies at Princeton; last time I heard of him, several years ago, he was freelancing as a violinist in New York.

    My old friend...

  • At Cambridge he had done very well, in the early days of the tripos, and was chosen fellow and tutor of Gonville and

    Mary Anerley

  • The knife and the cane, menacing each other, were like tripos and short sword in a gladiatorial combat.

    Tender is the Night

  • Moreover, I rejoice that next year is just the season for the triennial examinations, and you should start for the capital with all despatch; and in the tripos next spring, you will, by carrying the prize, be able to do justice to the proficiency you can boast of.

    Hung Lou Meng

  • Cambridge University, England, one who has attained the first class in the elementary division of the public examination for honors in pure and mixed mathematics, commonly called the mathematical tripos, those who compose the second rank of honors being designated senior optimes, and those of the third order junior optimes.

    Autobiography and Selected Essays

  • The student taking absolutely the first place in the mathematical tripos used to be called senior wrangler, those following next in the same division being respectively termed second, third, fourth, etc., wranglers.

    Autobiography and Selected Essays


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  • During the nineteenth century, mathematical education at British Universities was largely oriented towards preparing students for the Tripos examinations, which involved solving tricky problems within a set time. The exams originated in 1748, sometime after Isaac Newton's tenure at Cambridge, and the name Tripos came from the three-legged stool on which the student sat to argue his points. Those who placed in the first class were known as Wranglers, and were assured of a successful future in any profession. Those who placed in the second and third classes were known as Senior and Junior Optimes.

    September 24, 2008