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 During Van Halen's late '70s through mid '80s rise, unlike previous era rock giants like The Stones and Led Zeppelin, the band's tours included tertiary markets like Huntsville. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Close encounters of the Van Halen kind," 8 Jan. 2020 This year, that has included The Strokes’ comeback tour, the summer double bills of Cage the Elephant with Beck and Elvis Costello with Blondie, and Norah Jones’ first dates in tertiary markets. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Revealed: Billboard's 2019 Women In Music Top Executives," 12 Dec. 2019 Between 2010 and 2015, only 26% of the 10 million applicants that sought entry into Nigerian tertiary institutions gained admission, according to Nigeria’s statistics agency. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians are spending half a billion dollars to school in the United States," 25 Nov. 2019 The payroll errors have created tertiary problems for the city, especially with the fire department, which is nearly $4 million over budget. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Payroll software settlement with Anchorage firefighters union costs city an estimated $2 million," 15 Dec. 2019 At the tertiary level, the problems are compounded by recurring strike actions by public university lecturers amid protests of low wages and benefits. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians are spending half a billion dollars to school in the United States," 25 Nov. 2019 The report said treatment can remove more than 90% of microplastics from wastewater, with the highest removal coming from tertiary treatment such as filtration. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Microplastics in drinking water 'don't appear to pose health risk,' WHO says," 21 Aug. 2019 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

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tertiary.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tertiary?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=t&file=tertia02. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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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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