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ternary

[tur-nuh-ree] /ˈtɜr nə ri/
adjective
1.
consisting of or involving three; threefold; triple.
2.
third in order or rank.
3.
based on the number three.
4.
Chemistry.
  1. consisting of three different elements or groups.
  2. (formerly) consisting of three atoms.
5.
Mathematics. having three variables.
6.
Metallurgy. (of an alloy) having three principal constituents.
noun, plural ternaries.
7.
a group of three.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin ternārius made up of three. See tern2, -ary
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for tern-aries

ternary

/ˈtɜːnərɪ/
adjective
1.
consisting of three or groups of three
2.
(maths)
  1. (of a number system) to the base three
  2. involving or containing three variables
3.
(of an alloy, mixture, or chemical compound) having three different components or composed of three different elements
noun (pl) -ries
4.
a group of three
Word Origin
C14: from Latin ternārius, from ternī three each
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for tern-aries

ternary

adj.

early 15c., from Late Latin ternarius "consisting of three," from terni "three by three," from ter "thrice," which is related to tres "three" (see three).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tern-aries in Medicine

ternary ter·na·ry (tûr'nə-rē)
adj.
Composed of three or arranged in threes, as a chemical compound containing three elements. n.
A group of three.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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