Slang dictionary


[ thruhp-uhl ]

What does throuple mean?

A throuple is an intimate consensual relationship that involves three people.

Related words

positionality, polysexual, omnisexual, nonbinary gender, demisexual, gender-fluid, friends with benefits, gender-neutral pronouns, polycule, best friend

Where does throuple come from?

A blend of the words three and couple, a throuple is a polyamorous relationship also sometimes called a triadménage à trois, or, for a bonus blend, threelationship.

Evidence for throuple comes as early as 1994 in an internet Usenet discussion of non-traditional relationships. Throuple saw a smattering of uses online in the 2000s, but it was in 2014 that Stephen Colbert popularized the term on his TV show The Colbert Report in a story on a lesbian throuple‘s wedding.

In 2017, the show RuPaul’s Drag Race brought further attention to the term throuple when the contestant Derrick Barry discussed his throuple with an artist and fellow drag queen. A throuple also appeared in in the 2018 Netflix show Insatiable.

The word throuple was thrust back into the spotlight with the hit 2020 Netflix documentary Tiger King. The show features Joe Exotic, a notorious and eccentric animal park operator who was unofficially married to two men. This relationship has been popularly referred to as a throuple.

Unlike a threesome, which is a single sexual experience involving three people, a throuple is an ongoing arrangement where three people are romantic partners. A throuple can involve a mix of genders and sexual orientations. Throuples have children together, live together, and get married, though only two of the three can legally be married. Throuples can engage in intercourse or be purely romantic.

Examples of throuple

There’s also a lot more representation when it comes to LGBTQ+ relationships and more unconventional set-ups like throuples.
Fionnuala Jones, The Daily Edge, August 2018
Viewers of HGTV’s popular real estate show "House Hunters" watched in shock and awe as a polyamorous “throuple” searched for a new home in Colorado.
@NBCNews, February 2020

Who uses throuple?

Polyamorous individuals may use the word throuple to describe consensual relationships involving three people.


People may also playfully or facetiously use throuple for a trio of people, such as close friends.

Throuples also appear in fan fiction and fan culture more generally.



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This is not meant to be a formal definition of throuple like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of throuple that will help our users expand their word mastery.