A TRIAC (triode for alternating current; also bidirectional triode thyristor or bilateral triode thyristor) is a three terminal electronic component that conducts current in either direction when triggered.

      TRIACs are a subset of thyristors (analogous to a relay in that a small voltage and current can control a much larger voltage and current) and are related to silicon controlled rectifiers (SCRs). TRIACs differ from SCRs in that they allow current flow in both directions, whereas an SCR can only conduct current in a single direction. Most TRIACs can be triggered by applying either a positive or negative voltage to the gate (an SCR requires a positive voltage). Once triggered, SCRs and TRIACs continue to conduct, even if the gate current ceases, until the main current drops below a certain level called the holding current.    (Source : WikiPedia)