tertiary

adjective
ter·​tia·​ry | \ ˈtər-shē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce tertiary (audio) , -shə-rē How to pronounce tertiary (audio) \

Definition of tertiary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of third rank, importance, or value
b chiefly British : of, relating to, or being higher education
c : of, relating to, or constituting the third strongest of the three or four degrees of stress recognized by most linguists (such as the stress of the third syllable of basketball team)
2 capitalized : of, relating to, or being the first period of the Cenozoic era or the corresponding system of rocks marked by the formation of high mountains (such as the Alps, Caucasus, and Himalayas) and the dominance of mammals on land — see Geologic Time Table
3a : involving or resulting from the substitution of three atoms or groups a tertiary salt tertiary amine
b : being or containing a carbon atom having bonds to three other carbon atoms an acid containing a tertiary carbon tertiary alcohols
c : of, relating to, or being the normal folded structure of the coiled chain of a protein or of DNA or RNA
4 : occurring in or being a third stage: such as
a : being or relating to the recovery of oil and gas from old wells by means of the underground application of heat and chemicals
b : being or relating to the purification of wastewater by removal of fine particles, nitrates, and phosphates

tertiary

noun
plural tertiaries

Definition of tertiary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 [Medieval Latin tertiarius, from Latin, of a third] : a member of a monastic third order especially of lay people
2 capitalized : the Tertiary (see tertiary entry 1 sense 2) period or system of rocks

Examples of tertiary in a Sentence

Adjective Bill Clinton … has passed through the tertiary and quaternary stages and is well on his way to millenary integrity. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, January/February 2003 A tertiary care doctor at a cushy academic medical center, a plastic surgeon, and a dentist in a Pleasantville suburb don't spend much time taking care of poor patients who lack basic insurance. — Siddhartha Mukherjee, New Republic, 17 Sept. 2001 The most learned philosopher knew little more. He had partially unveiled the face of Nature, but her immortal lineaments were still a wonder and a mystery. He might dissect, anatomise, and give names; but, not to speak of a final cause, causes in their secondary and tertiary grades were utterly unknown to him. — Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, 1818 Headaches often occur during the tertiary stage of the illness.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These panelists from across North America will share their insights on running intimate venues in major cities, bringing big names to tertiary markets and discuss the advantages and challenges of staying autonomous in an evolving marketplace. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Independent Promoters to Helm 'Thanks, But No Thanks: Life After Turning Down The Big Check' Panel at Billboard Live Music Summit," 30 Oct. 2019 Giannis is going to get his, as long as the Cavs can work to shut down the secondary and tertiary options the under will come in. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks odds, lines, picks and betting tips," 28 Oct. 2019 The Halle attacker, meanwhile, had no such secondary or tertiary aims. Rajan Basra, Time, "How the Synagogue Shooting in Germany Fits Into a Global Pattern of Far-Right Terrorism," 10 Oct. 2019 Trump's moves in Ukraine are not a tertiary interest. Author: Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Rachael Bade, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Trump’s Ukraine call reveals a president convinced of his own invincibility," 22 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Both the number and share of young people in tertiary education in sub-Saharan Africa will keep growing. The Economist, "A booming population is putting strain on Africa’s universities," 8 Aug. 2019 Local media estimated that as many as 10,000 students from some 200 secondary and tertiary institutions were joining the class boycott, which was co-organized with two student groups. Time Staff, Time, "Students Boycott Classes on the First Day of the School Year in Hong Kong's Latest Democracy Protest," 2 Sep. 2019 Extremely rapid growth in energy consumption Air conditioning represents an increasingly large proportion of electricity consumption in the building sector, both residential and tertiary. Carine Sebi, Quartz, "How to cool your home without warming the planet," 27 Aug. 2019 One in nine Africans with a tertiary qualification lives in an OECD country, compared with one in 13 Latin Americans and one in 30 Asians. The Economist, "A booming population is putting strain on Africa’s universities," 8 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of tertiary

Adjective

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

circa 1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tertiary

Adjective

Latin tertiarius of or containing a third, from tertius third

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Time Traveler for tertiary

Time Traveler

The first known use of tertiary was circa 1550

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Statistics for tertiary

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Tertiary.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tertiaries. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for tertiary

tertiary

adjective
How to pronounce tertiary (audio) How to pronounce tertiary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tertiary

formal : third in order, importance, or value

tertiary

noun
ter·​tia·​ry | \ ˈtər-shē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce tertiary (audio) , ˈtər-shə-rē How to pronounce tertiary (audio) \
plural tertiaries

Medical Definition of tertiary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a lesion of tertiary syphilis

tertiary

adjective

Medical Definition of tertiary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of third rank, importance, or value
2a : involving or resulting from the substitution of three atoms or groups a tertiary salt
b : being or containing a carbon atom having bonds to three other carbon atoms an acid containing a tertiary carbon
c : of, relating to, or being the normal folded structure of the coiled chain of a protein or of a DNA or RNA — compare primary entry 1 sense 4, secondary sense 3
3 : occurring in or being a third stage tertiary lesions of syphilis
4 : providing tertiary care a tertiary medical center

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More from Merriam-Webster on tertiary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tertiary

Spanish Central: Translation of tertiary

Nglish: Translation of tertiary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tertiary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tertiary

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