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  • Adj.

tertiary

TUR-shuh-ree

Context
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In the chess tournament, Gilbert was placed just after second of fifty competitors, and so had a tertiary rank overall in the competition. He hoped to end up on top, but throughout play he continued in his same tertiary or third-place spot. Once having indeed taken third place, Gilbert felt like a third-rate player, and wondered if he would ever move beyond his customary tertiary position.

Quiz: What is a tertiary position?

  • In the third place.
  • Lower than one hoped.
  • A competitive one.

Memory Hook
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Apple, Blueberry, Third Is Cherry First is "A" for apple pie, second is "B" for blueberry, and tertiary or third is cherry!

Examples
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  • Hospital administrators said they will appoint a white-ribbon panel of experts to help them design and staff the new wing, where defeating cancer will be the tertiary goal. —The Onion
  • A corner back is a member of the secondary, which might more properly be called the tertiary, since it is the third wave of defense. —Sports Illustrated
  • The practice of tinkering with shows is not uncommon — tertiary roles are often recast, for example — but this year changes have been far more sweeping. —TIME
  • The opposition secondly suggests that the creation of knowledge workers through tertiary education offers some respite in the decline of the competitiveness of developed-country workforces. —The Economist

Word Ingredients
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terti third
-ary of or relating to

A tertiary position is “of or related to the third” spot, degree, place of importance, place in order, etc.

Word Constellation
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Tertiary