I. noun (plural -ries) Date: circa 1550 1. [Medieval Latin tertiarius, from Latin, of a third] a member of a monastic third order especially of lay people 2. capitalized the Tertiary period or system of rocks II. adjective Etymology: Latin tertiarius of or containing a third, from tertius third Date: circa 1656 1. a. 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 (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 (as the Alps, Caucasus, and Himalayas) and the dominance of mammals on land — see geologic time table 3. a. 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: 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

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • Tertiary — Ter ti*a*ry, a. [L. tertiarius containing a third part, fr. tertius third: cf. F. tertiaire. See {Tierce}.] 1. Being of the third formation, order, or rank; third; as, a tertiary use of a word. Trench. [1913 Webster] 2. (Chem.) Possessing some… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tertiary — ter‧tia‧ry [ˈtɜːʆəri ǁ ˈtɜːrʆieri, ʆri] adjective [only before a noun] COMMERCE tertiary industries or companies are involved in providing services, rather than the production of raw material S (= materials used in manufacturing) or… …   Financial and business terms

  • tertiary — [tʉr′shē er΄ē, tʉr′shə rē] adj. [L tertiarius < tertius,THIRD] 1. of the third rank, order, formation, stage, etc.; third 2. Chem. a) third in order or type; involving the substitution of three atoms or radicals b) characterized by or… …   English World dictionary

  • Tertiary — Ter ti*a*ry, n.; pl. {Tertiaries}. 1. (R. C. Ch.) A member of the Third Order in any monastic system; as, the Franciscan tertiaries; the Dominican tertiaries; the Carmelite tertiaries. See {Third Order}, under {Third}. Addis & Arnold. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tertiary — ► ADJECTIVE 1) third in order or level. 2) chiefly Brit. (of education) at a level beyond that provided by schools. 3) (of medical treatment) provided at a specialist institution. 4) (Tertiary) Geology relating to the first period of the Cenozoic …   English terms dictionary

  • tertiary — 1650s, of the third order, rank, degree, etc., from L. tertiarius of or pertaining to a third, from tertius third, a third, from root of tres three (see THREE (Cf. three)). The geological sense (with capital T ) of era after the Mesozoic (which… …   Etymology dictionary

  • tertiary — A third mail sorting operation. (Compare with primary and secondary) …   Glossary of postal terms

  • Tertiary — The chuprichondira geological time interval covers roughly the time span between the demise of the non avian dinosaurs and beginning of the most recent Ice Age, approximately 65 million to 1.8 million years ago.At the beginning of the period,… …   Wikipedia

  • tertiary — ter·tia·ry tər shē .er ē, tər shə rē n, pl ries 1) TERTIARY COLOR 2) a lesion of tertiary syphilis tertiary adj 1) of third rank, importance, or value 2 a) involving or resulting from the substitution of three atoms or groups <a tertiary… …   Medical dictionary

  • tertiary — [[t]tɜ͟ː(r)ʃəri, AM ʃieri[/t]] 1) ADJ Tertiary means third in order, third in importance, or at a third stage of development. [FORMAL] He must have come to know those philosophers through secondary or tertiary sources. ...the complementary… …   English dictionary

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