third

third (thûrd)
n.
1. The ordinal number matching the number three in a series.
2. One of three equal parts.
3. Music a) An interval of three degrees in a diatonic scale. b) A tone separated by three degrees from a given tone, especially the third tone of a scale.
4. The transmission gear or gear ratio used to produce forward speeds next higher to those of second in a motor vehicle.
5. Baseball Third base.
6. thirds Merchandise whose quality is below the standard set for seconds.
[Middle English thridde, therdde, third, from Old English thridda; see trei-.]
third adv. & adj.
Word History: Every native speaker knows that the cardinal three and the ordinal third are closely related, but many may wonder why the r comes before the vowel in the former and after in the latter. What we have here is metathesis, the switching of the order of two sounds. This is a common occurrence in languages, and especially so in English with the consonant r. In Old English, three was thrīe, and third was thridda. Thridda would have given us thrid in Modern English except for the metathesis of r and i. This metathesis began in Old English times in Northumbria: thridda appears as thirdda in Northumbrian manuscripts. The metathesis spread south during Middle English times and also affected many other words, including bird (originally bridd in Old English and in Chaucer's Middle English), and nostril, literally "nose hole" (from Old English thyrl). Metathesis even produced the curious form throp from thorp, "village," which survives in the proper name Winthrop.

Word Histories. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Third — (th[ e]rd), a. [OE. thirde, AS. [thorn]ridda, fr. [thorn]r[=i], [thorn]re[ o], three; akin to D. derde third, G. dritte, Icel. [thorn]ri[eth]i, Goth. [thorn]ridja, L. tertius, Gr. tri tos, Skr. t[.r]t[=i]ya. See {Three}, and cf. {Riding} a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Third — may refer to: 3 (number), such as the 3rd of something see also Ordinal number (linguistics) Fraction (mathematics), such as 1/3 1/60 of a second, or 1/3,600 of a minute[citation needed] Third World, economically underdeveloped nations Third… …   Wikipedia

  • third — (adj.) O.E. metathesis of þridda, from P.Gmc. *thridjas (Cf. O.Fris. thredda, O.S. thriddio, M.L.G. drudde, Du. derde, O.H.G. dritto, Ger. dritte, O.N. þriðe, Goth. þridja), from PIE *tritjos (Cf. Skt. trtiyas, Avestan thritya …   Etymology dictionary

  • Third — Студийный альбом Portishead Дата выпуска 28 апреля 2008 года Записан 2005 2007 Жанры …   Википедия

  • Third — Studioalbum von Portishead …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Third — Third, n. 1. The quotient of a unit divided by three; one of three equal parts into which anything is divided. [1913 Webster] 2. The sixtieth part of a second of time. [1913 Webster] 3. (Mus.) The third tone of the scale; the mediant. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • third — [thʉrd] adj. [ME thirde, altered by metathesis < thridde < OE thridda < IE * tṛtiyo (< base * trei ,THREE) > L tertius, Gr tritos] 1. preceded by two others in a series; 3d or 3rd 2. next below the second in rank, power, value,… …   English World dictionary

  • third — third; third·borough; third·ings; third·ly; third·ness; …   English syllables

  • third — [θɜːd ǁ θɜːrd] adjective third half/​quarter/​period ACCOUNTING the third half, quarter etc of the financial year …   Financial and business terms

  • third — ► ORDINAL NUMBER 1) constituting number three in a sequence; 3rd. 2) (a third/one third) each of three equal parts into which something is or may be divided. 3) Music an interval spanning three consecutive notes in a diatonic scale, e.g. C to E.… …   English terms dictionary

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