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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Is there a secondary or tertiary income option — sideline, freelance or consulting work that could result in extra cash flow? Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Apr. 2022 Statistically, your next job or career step is likely to come not from your primary network, but from your secondary or tertiary networks. Tracy Brower, Forbes, 13 Mar. 2022 Pierce said the hospital system now has a level 4 trauma center, has partnered with tertiary centers in Jonesboro to care for heart attack patients and has a stroke telemedicine program. Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Online, 28 Dec. 2021 Their wines have a fantastic structure which allows their Cabernet Sauvignon to age ten years or more with beautiful tertiary notes of leather and spice onto the rich blackberry palate. Hudson Lindenberger, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 Perhaps if Larry were not a tertiary character, barely fleshed out in Furth’s script, this might not seem like a directorial hail-Mary pass. New York Times, 9 Dec. 2021 Most everyday wines lack the proper tannin, acidity, sugar and alcohol levels to develop secondary and tertiary flavors while in the bottle. Anthony Zhang, Forbes, 7 Dec. 2021 For instance, data from the McKinsey Global Institute reveals that around 35% of those people living outside their country of birth have at least a tertiary education. Adi Gaskell, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 Since 2017, the number of unemployed or underemployed young people has grown every year, reaching a high of 27.2% in January 2021, despite South Korea having the highest share of young adults with tertiary education of all OECD countries. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Texans paid handsomely for a player whose career was revived in part due to serving as a tertiary option and operating out of the slot. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near tertiary

tertianship

tertiary

tertiary amyl alcohol

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Statistics for tertiary

Last Updated

15 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tertiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tertiary. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tertiary

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tertiary

Nglish: Translation of tertiary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tertiary for Arabic Speakers

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