ternary

adjective
ter·​na·​ry | \ ˈtər-nə-rē How to pronounce ternary (audio) \

Definition of ternary

1a : of, relating to, or proceeding by threes
b : having three elements, parts, or divisions
c : arranged in threes ternary petals
2 : using three as the base a ternary logarithm
3a : being or consisting of an alloy of three elements
b : of, relating to, or containing three different elements, atoms, radicals, or groups sulfuric acid is a ternary acid
4 : third in order or rank

Examples of ternary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This middle movement follows an A-B-A ternary structure where the opening material is a lyrical adagio and the contrasting middle section presents more rhythmic, scherzo-like music. Jessica Rudman, courant.com, "Review: Guest conductor, teen prodigy pianist shine in HSO’s ‘Chopin and Franck’ program," 7 Dec. 2019 Nevertheless, especially in gnaoua music, the repetitive rhythm structure based on binary or ternary patterns is quite hypnotic and leads to a transcendental state that can totally be linked to what's happening in an electronic music club. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Moroccan Label Head Driss Bennis on How the Country's Emerging Electronic Scene Is 'Subconsciously Influenced by Our Roots'," 12 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ternary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ternary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ternary

Middle English, from Latin ternarius, from terni three each; akin to Latin tres three — more at three

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Time Traveler for ternary

Time Traveler

The first known use of ternary was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ternary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ternary. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ternary

ternary

adjective
ter·​na·​ry | \ ˈtər-nə-rē How to pronounce ternary (audio) \

Medical Definition of ternary

1 : having three elements, parts, or divisions
2a : being or consisting of an alloy of three elements
b : of, relating to, or containing three different elements, atoms, radicals, or groups a ternary acid

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