The earliest use of the word in English was early 15c., a separate borrowing in the academic sense "of the trivium" (the first three liberal arts -- grammar, rhetoric, and logic); from Medieval Latin use of trivialis in the sense "of the first three liberal arts," from trivium, neuter of the Latin adjective trivius "of three roads, of the crossroads." Related: Trivially. For sense evolution to "pertaining to useless information," see trivia.
Use in reference to the two divisions of the Bible (early 14c.) is from Late Latin vetus testamentum and novum testamentum, loan-translations of Greek palaia diatheke and kaine diatheke. Late Latin testamentum in this case was a confusion of the two meanings of Greek diatheke, which meant both "covenant, dispensation" and "will, testament," and was used in the former sense in the account of the Last Supper (see testimony) but subsequently was interpreted as Christ's "last will."
"1 more than twelve; the number which is one more than twelve; a symbol representing this number;" late 14c., metathesis of Middle English thrittene, from Old English þreotene (Mercian), þreotiene (West Saxon), from þreo "three" (see three) + -tene (see -teen). Similar formation in Old Saxon thriutein, Old Frisian thretten, Dutch dertien, German dreizehn, Old Norse threttan, Swedish tretton. As a noun from late Old English.
Not an unlucky number in medieval England, but associated rather with the customary "extra item" (as in baker's dozen). Superstitions began with association with the Last Supper, and the unluckiness of 13 sitting down together to dine (attested from 1690s). Most of the modern superstitions (buildings with floor "12-A," etc.) have developed since 1890.
"1 more than twenty-nine, twice fifteen; the number which is one more than twenty-nine; a symbol representing this number;" late 14c. metathesis of thritti, from Old English þritig, from þri, þreo "three" (see three) + -tig "group of ten" (see -ty (1)). Similar formation in Old Frisian thritich, Old Saxon thritig, Dutch dertig, Old High German drizzug, German dreissig.
The Thirty Years' War (1842) was a general European religious and dynastic power struggle, furiously destructive, waged 1618-48, mainly on German soil. The symbol -30- as printer and telegrapher's code to indicate the last sheet or line of copy or a dispatch is recorded from 1895. In 20c. jargon of newspaper journalism, it came to be a traditional sign-off signal and slang word for "the end."
"next in order after the second; an ordinal numeral; being one of three equal parts into which a whole is regarded as divided;" late Old English metathesis of þridda, from Proto-Germanic *thridja- (source also of Old Frisian thredda, Old Saxon thriddio, Middle Low German drudde, Dutch derde, Old High German dritto, German dritte, Old Norse þriðe, Danish tredie, Swedish tredje, Gothic þridja), from PIE *tri-tyo- (source also of Sanskrit trtiyas, Avestan thritya, Greek tritos, Latin tertius (source of Italian terzo, Spanish tercio, French tiers), Old Church Slavonic tretiji, Lithuanian trečias, Old Irish triss, Welsh tryde), suffixed form of root *trei- (see three).
Metathesis of thrid into third is attested from c. 950 in Northumbrian (compare wright), but overall thrid was prevalent up to 16c. The noun meaning "third part of anything" is recorded from late 14c. Third rail in electric railway sense is recorded from 1890. Third World War as a possibility first recorded 1947. Third-rate "of poor quality" is from 1814, ultimately from classification of ships (1640s); third class in railway travel is from 1839. Third Reich (1930) is a partial translation of German drittes Reich (1923). Third party in law, insurance, etc., is from 1818.
Japanese three-stringed banjo-like instrument, 1610s, from Chinese san-hsien, literally "three-strings," from san "three" + hsien "string."