word-forming element meaning "three, having three, once every three," from Latin tres (neuter tria) or Greek treis, trias "three" (see three).
Entries linking to tri-
"1 more than two; the number which is one more than two; a symbol representing this number;" Old English þreo, fem. and neuter (masc. þri, þrie), from Proto-Germanic *thrijiz (source also of Old Saxon thria, Old Frisian thre, Middle Dutch and Dutch drie, Old High German dri, German drei, Old Norse þrir, Danish tre), from nominative plural of PIE root *trei- "three" (source also of Sanskrit trayas, Avestan thri, Greek treis, Latin tres, Lithuanian trys, Old Church Slavonic trye, Irish and Welsh tri "three").
3-D first attested 1952, abbreviation of three-dimensional (1878). Three-piece suit is recorded from 1909. Three cheers for ______ is recorded from 1751. Three-martini lunch is attested from 1972. Three-ring circus is recorded by 1898. Three-sixty "complete turnaround" is from 1927, originally among aviators, in reference to the number of degrees in a full circle. Three musketeers translates French les trois mousquetaires, title of the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas père.
also drilling, kind of coarse, stout twilled cloth, 1743, from French drill, from German drillich "heavy, coarse cotton or linen fabric," from Old High German adjective drilich "threefold," from Latin trilix (genitive trilicis) "having three threads, triple-twilled," from tri- (see tri-) + licium "thread," a word of unknown etymology. So called in reference to the method of weaving it.
updated on February 16, 2014