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Origin of trice

1400–50; late Middle English tryse; probably special use of *trise a pull, tug, derivative of trisen, to pull; see trice2


verb (used with object), triced, tric·ing. Nautical.
  1. to pull or haul with a rope.
  2. to haul up and fasten with a rope (usually followed by up).

Origin of trice

1350–1400; Middle English trisen < Middle Dutch trīsen to hoist, derivative of trīse pulley
Related formsun·triced, adjective


  1. variant of -trix.

Origin of -trice

< French or Italian -trice < Latin -trīcem, accusative of -trīx -trix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trice

Historical Examples of trice

  • In a trice his huge bulk was safely ensconced in the adjoining one.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • In a trice we had galloped past the fortress, through the village, and had ridden into the gorge.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • She reached the door before he could stop her, and in a trice she was out in the gallery.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • So they mounted their horses and were gone in a trice, galloping to their own camp.



  • In a trice they were ready and the ladies, wrapped in their cloaks, were in the coach.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

British Dictionary definitions for trice


  1. moment; instant (esp in the phrase in a trice)

Word Origin for trice

C15 (in the phrase at or in a trice, in the sense: at one tug): apparent substantive use of trice ²


  1. (tr often foll by up) nautical to haul up or secure

Word Origin for trice

C15: from Middle Dutch trīsen, from trīse pulley
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

Word Origin and History for trice

late 14c., "haul up and fasten with a rope" (v.), from Middle Dutch trisen "hoist," from trise "pulley," of unknown origin. Hence at a tryse (mid-15c.) "in a very short time," literally "at a single pluck or pull." The Middle Dutch word is the source of Dutch trijsen "to hoist," and cognate with Middle Low German trissen (source of Danish trisse, German triezen); its ultimate origin is unknown.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper