1

tertiary

play
adjective ter·tia·ry \ ˈtər-shē-ˌer-ē , -shə-rē \

Definition of tertiary

1 a :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
3 a :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

Examples of tertiary in a Sentence

  1. Bill Clinton … has passed through the tertiary and quaternary stages and is well on his way to millenary integrity. —Cullen MurphyAtlanticJanuary/February 2003
  2. 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 MukherjeeNew Republic17 Sept. 2001
  3. 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 ShelleyFrankenstein1818

Recent Examples of tertiary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of tertiary

Latin tertiarius of or containing a third, from tertius third


2

tertiary

noun

Definition of tertiary

plural tertiaries
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 1tertiary 2) period or system of rocks

Examples of tertiary in a Sentence

  1. Headaches often occur during the tertiary stage of the illness.

First Known Use of tertiary

circa 1550



TERTIARY Defined for English Language Learners

tertiary

adjective

Definition of tertiary for English Language Learners

  • : third in order, importance, or value


Medical Dictionary

1

tertiary

play
noun ter·tia·ry \ ˈtər-shē-ˌer-ē , ˈtər-shə-rē \

medical Definition of tertiary

plural tertiaries
2 :a lesion of tertiary syphilis

2

tertiary

adjective

medical Definition of tertiary

1 :of third rank, importance, or value
2 a :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 4, secondary 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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