New Word #62: All About “Three”

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Related with Three (Commonly Used)

triad: a group or set of three connected people or things.
trilogy: a group of three related novels, plays, films, operas, or albums.
triple: consisting of or involving three parts, things, or people
triplet: one of three children or animals born at the same birth.
trinity: the state of being three.
triplex: (North America) a building divided into three self-contained residences. I haven’t seen such a structure. I’ve seen a duplex several times, but not triplex.
ternary: composed of three parts.
third: constituting number three in a sequence; 3rd.
trio: a set or group of three people or things.
triangle: a plane figure with three straight sides and three angles.
tripod: a three-legged stand for supporting a camera or other apparatus.

Related With Three (Not Commonly Used)

triptych: a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece.
triumvirate: (in ancient Rome) a group of three men holding power, in particular ( the First Triumvirate ) the unofficial coalition of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus in 60 BC and ( the Second Triumvirate ) a coalition formed by Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian in 43 BC.
tercet: a set or group of three lines of verse rhyming together or connected by rhyme with an adjacent tercet.
throuple or thruple: a three person polyamory.
trey: a shot in basketball that counts for three points.
trifecta: (North America) a bet in which the person betting forecasts the first three finishers in a race in the correct order.
treble: consisting of three parts; threefold.
trefoil: a small European plant of the pea family, with yellow flowers and three-lobed clover-like leaves.
troika: a group of three people working together, especially in an administrative or managerial capacity.
trichotomy: a division into three categories.
triplicity: a group of three people or things.

Phrases Related With Three

third wheel: A third wheel is someone who is unnecessary to a group and is tagging along.

Three is a crowd: a third person is not welcome when two people (such as two lovers) want to be alone with each other.

third time’s a charm: This idiomatic expression stand for the good luck in third attempt.

third rail: The third rail of a nation’s politics is a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is “charged” and “untouchable” to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically.

the three stooges: The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970. I actually heard this several times that people mention three stooges to talk about a group of three people.

three witches: The Three Witches represent evil, darkness, chaos, and conflict, while their role is as agents and witnesses.

three musketeers: Three people who are very closely associates, as in friendship or business

I didn’t exchange more than three words (with someone): To speak only briefly to someone.

three dimensional person: having different qualities that are like the qualities of a real person. I heard about two dimensional or three dimensional person several times, but I really don’t understand what it means.

three cheers: used to express joy, approval, or encouragement. However it might be used sarcastically. I am not very sure about this.

38 thoughts on “New Word #62: All About “Three”

  1. One that fascinates me is the “triskelion” – or “triskeles” – which is the three-legged symbol you see on the flags and coats of arms of the Isle of Man and Sicily (for example). The Isle of man motto is “Quocunque Jeceris Stabit” (“Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand.” – referring to the fact that the three legs will always land on their feet if you throw them). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_the_Isle_of_Man

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    1. Never heard of triskelion, but I do think I’ve seen it somewhere, probably a pattern on somebody’s clothes. That’s true. Three legs are always landing well no matter of the surface conditions. I often wonder why tables are not three-legged.

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      1. You really do a great job with this and hope you save it in a book one day. American slang how to know what their saying or something catchy. You are right. There is an entire new language of slang each time there is a new generation and then that changes with new abbreviations. Nicely done though. Have a blessed weekend. Hugs 🤗 and love, Joni

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    1. Haha. I think as a native speaker, you know. However for a non-native speaker, I often miss the sarcastic tone. Many times I was shocked to learn, long afterwards, that what was said represented a sarcastic comment rather than a praise even if on the surface it was a praise.

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  2. We also use triad in music meaning the three main notes of a scale (e.g. in C, the main notes are the 1st, 3rd & 5th, namely C, E & G). Troika I only knew as a Russian wagon, drawn by, naturally, three horses. An expression we have is ‘third time lucky’, meaning that if one persists, one can achieve one’s aim. Three cheers we use (in the UK) literally, without irony such as at a wedding, birthday or job promotion.

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    1. Thank you for such a wonderful addition and explanation. Yes, three is quite an interesting word, isn’t it? I’ve heard cheers often, but never heard of three cheers before. So I’ve no first hand experience with it, whether it’s used for real cheer or for sarcastic purpose.

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  3. I’ve often heard the phrase as, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd.”
    The three witches refers to Shakespeare’s characters in Macbeth who foretell Macbeth’s ruin.
    “Three sheets to the wind” means a person is drunk. It comes from sailing a small ship with three sails that are not secured properly if at all.

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    1. That’s so right. Three is a crowd should be used in conjunction with two’s a company. That will make more sense. How can I forget the three witches in Macbeth? I wonder if Macbeth never meets these three witches, will he be as bad as he is? Probably his inner demon will never surface? Three sheets to the wind? I will never guess it is about somebody who’s drunk.

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