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[thurd] /θɜrd/
next after the second; being the ordinal number for three.
being one of three equal parts.
Automotive. of, relating to, or operating at the gear transmission ratio at which the drive shaft speed is greater than that of second gear for a given engine crankshaft speed, but not as great as that of fourth gear, if such exists:
third gear.
rated, graded, or ranked one level below the second:
He's third engineer on the ship.
a third part, especially of one (1/3).
the third member of a series.
Automotive. third gear:
Don't try to start a car when it's in third.
a person or thing next after second in rank, precedence, order:
The writer of the best essay will receive a gold medal, the second a silver, and the third a bronze.
Usually, thirds. Law.
  1. the third part of the personal property of a deceased husband, which in certain circumstances goes absolutely to the widow.
  2. a widow's dower.
  1. a tone on the third degree from a given tone (counted as the first).
  2. the interval between such tones.
  3. the harmonic combination of such tones.
Baseball. third base.
Usually, thirds. Commerce. a product or goods below second quality.
Compare first (def 17), second1 (def 23).
in the third place; thirdly.
Origin of third
before 900; Middle English thirde, Old English (north) thirda, variant of thridda; cognate with Dutch derde, German dritte, Old Norse thrithi, Gothic thridja, Greek trítos, Latin tertius, Sanskrit tṛtīya. See three
Related forms
thirdly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for third
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A second and a third time the Ethiopian touched him with his wand, and spoke in whispers.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • And the third time I said, 'Behold the winged separates from that which hath no wings.'

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • He little knew how narrow an escape he had had of losing a third!

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Then they wait for a third service, and after that start out home again.

  • It seemed to come from the direction of Malbone's room, which was in the third story.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
British Dictionary definitions for third


adjective (usually prenominal)
  1. coming after the second and preceding the fourth in numbering or counting order, position, time, etc; being the ordinal number of three: often written 3rd
  2. (as noun): he arrives on the third, the third got a prize
rated, graded, or ranked below the second level
denoting the third from lowest forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
  1. one of three equal or nearly equal parts of an object, quantity, etc
  2. (as modifier): a third part
the fraction equal to one divided by three (1/3)
the forward ratio above second of a gearbox in a motor vehicle. In some vehicles it is the top gear
  1. the interval between one note and another three notes away from it counting inclusively along the diatonic scale
  2. one of two notes constituting such an interval in relation to the other See also interval (sense 5), major (sense 15), minor (sense 4d)
(Brit) an honours degree of the third and usually the lowest class Full term third class honours degree
(pl) goods of a standard lower than that of seconds
Also thirdly. in the third place
sentence connector
Also thirdly. as the third point: linking what follows with the previous statements as in a speech or argument
Derived Forms
thirdly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English thirda, variant of thridda; related to Old Frisian thredda, Old Saxon thriddio, Old High German drittio, Old Norse thrithi, Latin tertius
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for third

Old English metathesis of þridda, from Proto-Germanic *thridjas (cf. Old Frisian thredda, Old Saxon thriddio, Middle Low German drudde, Dutch derde, Old High German dritto, German dritte, Old Norse þriðe, Gothic þridja), from PIE *tritjos (cf. Sanskrit trtiyas, Avestan thritya, Greek tritos, Latin tertius, Old Church Slavonic tretiji, Lithuanian trecias, Old Irish triss).

Related to Old English þreo (see three). Metathesis of thrid into third is attested from c.950 in Northumbria, but 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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third in Medicine

third (thûrd)

  1. Coming next after second, as in order, rank, or time.

  2. Being the digit that is adjacent to and is on the outermost side of the second digit, as on a foot.

third n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for third

third degree

n phr,n

Long and harsh, even brutal, questioning, esp by the police: The Third Degree, A Detailed and Appalling Expose´ of Police Brutality/ He's giving me a third about some gun he says I had

[1900+; origin uncertain]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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