a cardinal number, 2 plus 1.
a symbol for this number, as 3 or III.
a set of this many persons or things.
a playing card, die face, or half of a domino face with three pips.
amounting to three in number.
three sheets in the wind. sheet2 ( def 3 ).

before 900; Middle English; Old English thrēo, thrīo, feminine and neuter of thrī(e); cognate with Dutch drie, German drei, Old Norse thrīr, Gothic threis, Greek treîs, Latin trēs three, ter thrice, Irish trí, OCS tri, Sanskrit trī, tráyas Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
three (θriː)
1.  See also number the cardinal number that is the sum of two and one and is a prime number
2.  a numeral, 3, III, (iii), representing this number
3.  the amount or quantity that is one greater than two
4.  something representing, represented by, or consisting of three units such as a playing card with three symbols on it
5.  Also called: three o'clock three hours after noon or midnight
6.  a.  amounting to three: three ships
 b.  (as pronoun): three were killed
Related: ternary, tertiary, treble, triple, tri-, ter-
[Old English thrēo; related to Old Norse thrīr, Old High German drī, Latin trēs, Greek treis]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. þreo, fem. and neut. (masc. þri, þrie), from P.Gmc. *thrijiz (cf. O.Fris. thre, M.Du., Du. drie, O.H.G. dri, Ger. drei, O.N. þrir, Dan. tre), from PIE *trejes (cf. Skt. trayas, Avestan thri, Gk. treis, L. tres, Lith. trys, O.C.S. trye, Ir., Welsh tri "three"). 3-D first attested
1952, abbreviation of three-dimensional (1878). Three-piece suit is recorded from 1909. Three cheers for ______ is recorded from 1751. Three-martini lunch is attested from 1972. Three-ring circus first recorded 1898. Three-sixty "complete turnaround" is from 1927, originally among aviators, in ref. to the number of degrees in a full circle. Three musketeers translates Fr. les trois mousquetaires, title of an 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas père.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
There's no need to chill a pie crust for three hours.
All three of these studies concede that graduation rates aren't the final word
  in college accountability.
Yet the consistency among the three compilations masks large uncertainties in
  the raw data on which they are based.
Catching three destructive wild pigs is quite a challenge.
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