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See more synonyms for trice on Thesaurus.com
  1. a very short time; an instant: in a trice.
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Origin of trice1

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).
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Origin of trice2

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


  1. variant of -trix.
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Origin of -trice

< French or Italian -trice < Latin -trīcem, accusative of -trīx -trix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

point, flash, juncture, time, date, occasion, bit, minute, stage, hour, moment, outburst, burst, breath, wink, shake, crack, while, twinkling, jiffy

Examples from the Web for trice

Historical Examples

  • 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)
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Word Origin

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
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Word Origin

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper