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[tur-shuh n] /ˈtɜr ʃən/
Pathology. (of a malarial fever, etc.) characterized by paroxysms that recur every other day.
Pathology. a tertian fever.
a Jesuit during the period of tertianship.
Origin of tertian
1325-75; Middle English terciane < Latin (febris) tertiāna tertian (fever), equivalent to terti(us) third + -āna, feminine of -ānus -an
Related forms
subtertian, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tertian
Historical Examples
  • "He plead a tertian fever--would not mar our warmth with his shivering," said the other.

    Sir Mortimer Mary Johnston
  • I have a tertian fever, which seized me after the fete at Vaux.

    The Man in the Iron Mask Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • tertian segmenting forms are less frequently typical than quartan.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis James Campbell Todd
  • If this fever did not leave him, he must try blood-letting on himself, as though in a tertian.

  • Also he used the seven herbs, known as the “confirmed herbs,” for tertian fevers, with notable success.

    Mogreb-el-Acksa R. B. Cunninghame Graham
  • This is the cycle, as described by Golgi, of the tertian and quartan parasite.

  • I do not know if my fever will let me go on with either, and the tertian lasts, they say, a good while.

  • I was wrecked there once in an Austrian Lloyd's steamer, and caught a tertian fever before I could get away.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • In his second year he becomes a semi, in his third a tertian, and in his fourth a magistrand.

    The Scarlet Gown R. F. Murray
  • Olympia had been suffering the whole time from tertian fever, and was absolutely unable to proceed further.

British Dictionary definitions for tertian


(of a fever or the symptoms of a disease, esp malaria) occurring every other day
a tertian fever or symptoms
Word Origin
C14: from Latin febris tertiāna fever occurring every third day, reckoned inclusively, from tertius third
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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tertian in Medicine

tertian ter·tian (tûr'shən)
Recurring every other day or, when considered inclusively, every third day. Used of a fever. n.
A tertian fever.

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