[ three ]
See synonyms for three on
  1. a cardinal number, 2 plus 1.

  2. a symbol for this number, as 3 or III.

  1. a set of this many persons or things.

  2. a playing card, die face, or half of a domino face with three pips.

  1. amounting to three in number.

Idioms about three

  1. three sheets in the wind. sheet2 (def. 3).

Origin of three

First recorded 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, Old Church Slavonic tri, Sanskrit trī, tráyas

Words Nearby three Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use three in a sentence

  • It is thinner than that of chronic bronchitis, and upon standing separates into three layers of pus, mucus, and frothy serum.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • I waited three months more, in great impatience, then sent him back to the same post, to see if there might be a reply.

    The Boarded-Up House | Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • There are three things a wise man will not trust: the wind, the sunshine of an April day, and woman's plighted faith.

    Pearls of Thought | Maturin M. Ballou
  • In cross-section the burrows varied from round (three inches in diameter) to oval (three inches high and four inches wide).

  • It separates into three layers upon standing—a brown deposit, a clear fluid, and a frothy layer.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd

British Dictionary definitions for three


/ (θriː) /

  1. the cardinal number that is the sum of two and one and is a prime number: See also number (def. 1)

  2. a numeral, 3, III, (iii), representing this number

  1. the amount or quantity that is one greater than two

  2. something representing, represented by, or consisting of three units such as a playing card with three symbols on it

  3. Also called: three o'clock three hours after noon or midnight

    • amounting to three: three ships

    • (as pronoun): three were killed

Origin of three

Old English thrēo; related to Old Norse thrīr, Old High German drī, Latin trēs, Greek treis

Other words from three

  • Related adjectives: ternary, tertiary, treble, triple
  • Related prefixes: tri-, ter-

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