Triton was a minor sea god, a merman, in effect, who was the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite. By muddled association with Neptune (his father), who is usually depicted holding a trident, his name also suggests 'trident'. But Triton, in fact, is usually depicted holding a large shell or conch, and he is not associated with a trident at all, either pictorially or linguistically.

There may, however, be a link between his name and that of his mother, Amphitrite. In considering her name (see her entry) we mentioned both tntos, 'third' and tryo, 'to wear out' as possible sources. These can equally well apply to Triton with the same application, i.e., the sea as the third element and as a corrosive force.

The 'sea' link certainly seems the most promising, and is supported by words in some languages that actually mean 'sea', such as Old Irish triath, genitive trethan. The Classical Manual proposes an etymology simil to the one it offers for Tithonus: 'some say a corruption of Tint On, and to have meant "tower of the sun'".