Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[three] /θri/
a cardinal number, 2 plus 1.
a symbol for this number, as 3 or III.
a set of this many persons or things.
a playing card, die face, or half of a domino face with three pips.
amounting to three in number.
three sheets in the wind. sheet2 (def 3).
Origin of three
before 900; Middle English; Old English thrēo, thrīo, feminine and neuter of thrī(e); cognate with Dutch drie, German drei, Old Norse thrīr, Gothic threis, Greek treîs, Latin trēs three, ter thrice, Irish trí, OCS tri, Sanskrit trī, tráyas Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for three
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You've been so devoted to her for three days that you've hardly bowed to old friends.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • For three days and three nights, Paralus remained in complete oblivion.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Mina, (plural Minæ)—Four pounds, three shillings, four pence.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Stater—A gold coin; estimated at about twelve shillings, three pence.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Methought anon you saw me go down with three pikes in my breast.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
British Dictionary definitions for three


the cardinal number that is the sum of two and one and is a prime number See also number (sense 1)
a numeral, 3, III, (iii), representing this number
the amount or quantity that is one greater than two
something representing, represented by, or consisting of three units such as a playing card with three symbols on it
Also called three o'clock. three hours after noon or midnight
  1. amounting to three: three ships
  2. (as pronoun): three were killed
adjectives ternary tertiary treble triple prefixes tri- ter-
Word Origin
Old English thrēo; related to Old Norse thrīr, Old High German drī, Latin trēs, Greek treis
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for three

Old English þreo, fem. and neuter (masc. þri, þrie), from Proto-Germanic *thrijiz (cf. Old Frisian thre, Middle Dutch and Dutch drie, Old High German dri, German drei, Old Norse þrir, Danish tre), from PIE *tris- (cf. Sanskrit trayas, Avestan thri, Greek treis, Latin tres, Lithuanian trys, Old Church Slavonic trye, Irisn and Welsh tri "three").

3-D first attested 1952, abbreviation of three-dimensional (1878). Three-piece suit is recorded from 1909. Three cheers for ______ is recorded from 1751. Three-martini lunch is attested from 1972. Three-ring circus first recorded 1898. Three-sixty "complete turnaround" is from 1927, originally among aviators, in reference to the number of degrees in a full circle. Three musketeers translates French les trois mousquetaires, title of an 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas père.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for three

Word Value for three

Scrabble Words With Friends