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  • Adj.




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: If you finished a competition in a tertiary position, how might you feel?

  • Proud that you finished in third place.
  • Thrilled that you finished in first place.
  • Disappointed that you finished in last place.

Memory Hook

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


  • “We have so many venues/facilities globally that we are going to be able to really help artists, managers, agents and promoters be able to create routing for tours in not just major markets, but secondary and tertiary markets,” says DuFine. —Billboard
  • 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
  • In the book, of course, many other things happen, and Jacob’s relationship with Tamir is, for the most part, secondary (or tertiary) to the action. —The New Yorker
  • Once your information has been stolen, cybercriminals go onto an invitation-only Internet Relay Chat (like a chat group) to do commerce with other online criminals. . . . After the information is purchased by a secondary criminal, that person can use a machine to print out a fake credit card with your information. But many use yet another tertiary person to wire stolen money into an overseas bank account. —CNN

Word Ingredients

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