- Used to describe word roots in Semitic languages which consist of three letters
- A word root in a Semitic languages which consist of three letters
In the terminology used to discuss the grammar of the Semitic languages and some other Afro-Asiatic languages, a triliteral (Arabic: جذر ثلاثي, ) is a root containing a sequence of three consonants (so also known as a triconsonantal root). The majority of consonantal roots in these languages are generally triliterals (but some may be quadriliterals). Such abstract consonantal roots are used in the derivation of actual words by adding the vowels and non-root consonants which go with a particular morphological category around the root consonants, in an appropriate way, generally following specific patterns.
For example, the following are some of the forms which can be derived from the triconsonantal root k-t-b (general overall meaning "to write") in Hebrew and Arabic:
- ''Note: The Hebrew fricatives transcribed as "kʰ" and "bʰ" above are single phonetic sounds, which can also be transcribed in a number of other ways, such as "ch" and "v" (Eastern-European influenced) or [x] and [v] (IPA). They are transcribed "kʰ" and "bʰ" on this page to retain the connection with the pure consonantal root k-t-b.
In Hebrew grammatical terminology, the word binyan (Hebrew בנין, plural בינינים binyanim'') is used to refer to a verb stem or overall verb derivation pattern, while the word Mishqal (or Mishkal) is used to refer to a noun derivation pattern, and these words have gained some use in English-language linguistic terminology. The Arabic terms, called وزن wazn, (plural أوزان, ’awzān) for the pattern and جذر (plural جذور, ) for the root have not gained the same currency as the Hebrew equivalents, and Western grammarians continue to use "stem"/"form"/"pattern" for the former and "root" for the latter (though "form" and "pattern" are literal translations of wazn, and "root" is a literal translation of ǧaḏr).
triliteral in Arabic: جذر ثلاثي
triliteral in Breton: Gwrizienn deirc'hensonennel
triliteral in German: Radikal (semitische Sprachen)
triliteral in Hebrew: שורש (שפות שמיות)
triliteral in Dutch: Radicaal (semitische taal)