Today, the word triumph can refer to any victory, but back when it was first being used in English in the fourteenth century, it specifically referred to "success in battle" and "military processions celebrating success in battle". Through Old French triumphe, the word comes the from Latin word triumphus, which described a Roman custom of allowing a general to parade into Rome after an important victory. That traces to the Greek word thriambos, which meant "hymn to Dionysus"; the association was that there were commonly processions held in the god's honor as the hymn was sung, and these processions were thought to be similar to the triumphus ceremony. According to Google Ngram Viewer, usage of the word triumph peaked in 1592 and has been declining since then.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.