triage

[tree-ahzh]
noun
1.
the process of sorting victims, as of a battle or disaster, to determine medical priority in order to increase the number of survivors.
2.
the determination of priorities for action in an emergency.
adjective
3.
of, pertaining to, or performing the task of triage: a triage officer.
verb (used with object), triaged, triaging.
4.
to act on or in by triage: to triage a crisis.

Origin:
1925–30; < French: sorting, equivalent to tri(er) to sort (see try) + -age -age

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
triage (ˈtriːˌɑːʒ, ˌtriːˈɑːʒ, ˈtraɪ-)
 
n
1.  (in a hospital) the principle or practice of sorting emergency patients into categories of priority for treatment
2.  the principle or practice of sorting casualties in battle or disaster into categories of priority for treatment
3.  the principle or practice of allocating limited resources, as of food or foreign aid, on a basis of expediency rather than according to moral principles or the needs of the recipients
 
[C18 (in the sense: sorting (goods) according to quality): from French; see try, -age]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

triage
1727, "action of assorting according to quality," from Fr. triage "a picking out, sorting," from O.Fr. trier "to pick, cull" (see try). There seems to be some influence from or convergence with L. tria "three" (e.g. triage for "coffee beans of the third or lowest quality").
In World War I, adopted for the sorting of wounded soldiers into three groups according to the severity of their injuries.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

triage tri·age (trē-äzh', trē'äzh')
n.
A process for sorting injured people into groups based on their need for or likely benefit from immediate medical treatment. Triage is used on the battlefield, at disaster sites, and in hospital emergency rooms when limited medical resources must be allocated.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Triage centers and temporary shelters quickly filled to capacity.
In essence, what is going on is a sophisticated form of triage designed to make
  best use of the ambulances available.
The other half will be dropped after the triage stage.
Debt markets, which haven't psychologically recovered from the body blows of
  the past two years, went into triage.
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