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From Late Latin ternarius (consisting of three things), from terni (three each).


ternary (not comparable)

  1. Made up of three things; treble, triadic, triple, triplex.
  2. Arranged in groups of three.
  3. (arithmetic) To the base three.
    • Donald Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming
      Perhaps the prettiest number system of all [] is the balanced ternary notation.
  4. (arithmetic) Having three variables.
  5. (chemistry) Containing, or consisting of, three different parts, as elements, atoms, groups, or radicals, which are regarded as having different functions or relations in the molecule.
    Sodic hydroxide, NaOH, is a ternary compound.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit


ternary (plural ternaries)

  1. A group of three things; a trio, threesome or tierce.
  2. (obsolete) The Holy Trinity.
    • 1570, John Dee, in H. Billingsley (trans.) Euclid, Elements of Geometry, Preface:
      And albeit these thynges be waighty and truthes of great importance, yet (by the infinite goodnes of the Almighty Ternarie,) Artificiall Methods and easy wayes are made, by which the zelous Philosopher, may wyn nere this Riuerish Ida, this Mountayne of Contemplation […].