Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Ecclesiastical The third of the seven canonical hours. No longer in liturgical use.
  • n. Ecclesiastical The time of day appointed for this service, usually the third hour after sunrise.
  • n. A measure of liquid capacity, equal to a third of a pipe, or 42 gallons (159 liters).
  • n. Games A sequence of three cards of the same suit.
  • n. Sports The third position from which a parry or thrust can be made in fencing.
  • n. Music An interval of a third.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cask whose content is one third of a pipe; that is, forty-two wine gallons; also, a liquid measure of forty-two wine, or thirty-five imperial, gallons.
  • n. A cask larger than a barrel, and smaller than a hogshead or a puncheon, in which salt provisions, rice, etc., are packed for shipment.
  • n. The third tone of the scale. See mediant.
  • n. A sequence of three playing cards of the same suit. Tierce of ace, king and queen is called tierce-major.
  • n. The third defensive position, with the sword hand held at waist height, and the tip of the sword at head height.
  • n. An ordinary that covers the left or right third of the field of a shield or flag.
  • n. The third hour of the day, or nine a. m,; one of the canonical hours; also, the service appointed for that hour.
  • n. One sixtieth of a second, i.e., the third in a series of fractional parts in a sexagesimal number system. (Also known as a third.)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Divided into three equal parts of three different tinctures; -- said of an escutcheon.
  • n. A cask whose content is one third of a pipe; that is, forty-two wine gallons; also, a liquid measure of forty-two wine, or thirty-five imperial, gallons.
  • n. A cask larger than a barrel, and smaller than a hogshead or a puncheon, in which salt provisions, rice, etc., are packed for shipment.
  • n. The third tone of the scale. See Mediant.
  • n. A sequence of three playing cards of the same suit. Tierce of ace, king, queen, is called tierce-major.
  • n. A position in thrusting or parrying in which the wrist and nails are turned downward.
  • n. The third hour of the day, or nine a. m,; one of the canonical hours; also, the service appointed for that hour.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In heraldry, divided into three parts of three different tinctures.
  • n. A third; a third part.
  • n. Same as terce, 4.
  • n. A liquid measure equal to one third of a pipe. See pipe, 8. Also terce.
  • n. A cask intermediate in size between a barrel and a hogshead: as, a tierce of sugar; a tierce of rice or of salted provisions.
  • n. In music, same as third.
  • n. In card-playing, a sequence of three cards.
  • n. In fencing, the third of a series of eight points and parries, beginning with prime.
  • n. In heraldry, a fesse composed of three triangles, usually of three different tinctures: a bearing rare in English heraldry.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the third canonical hour; about 9 a.m.
  • n. one of three equal parts of a divisible whole
  • n. the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one and one

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from feminine of tiers, third, from Latin tertius; see trei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French tierce. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Once the Duke thrust in tierce and Jack's sword arm wavered an instant, and a splash of crimson appeared on his sleeve.

    The Black Moth: A Romance of the XVIII Century

  • My lord parried gracefully in tierce, and chuckled softly to himself.

    The Black Moth: A Romance of the XVIII Century

  • Sequences of 3-8 cards are called tierce, quart, quint, sixième, septième and huitième respectively.

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • "The Literary Interests of the First Carters." p. 51.) [14.1] A tierce is a measure of liquid "equal to a third of a pipe, or 42 gallons (159 liters)."

    Inventory of Robert Carter's Estate, November [1733]

  • 'tierce' with the intervals of music which bears those names: when he made a feint he cried out, "take care of this 'diesis'," because anciently they called the 'diesis' a feint: and when he had made the foil fly from my hand, he would add, with a sneer, that this was a pause: in a word, I never in my life saw a more insupportable pedant.

    The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau — Complete

  • And, so saying, I merely went from carte to tierce, and as he recovered wildly and parried widely I returned to carte, took the opening, and drove home heart-high and through and through.

    Chapter 11

  • He took no food, and said the office at tierce and sext in the saddle.

    A River So Long

  • Cadfael took his problem with him into the church at the hour of tierce, and said the office privately in a quiet corner.

    A River So Long

  • For “inspecting, examining and branding each tierce, barrel and half barrel of salted beef or pork,” the inspectors could demand eight cents.31

    A History of American Law

  • He was bleeding at every point of his armor: he had been run through the body several times, and a cut in tierce, delivered with tremendous dexterity, had cloven the crown of his helmet of Damascus steel, and passing through the cerebellum and sensorium, had split his nose almost in twain.

    A Legend of the Rhine

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Comments

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  • Another usage on longé.

    January 19, 2010

  • "TIERCE, a thrust in which the back of the hand is upwards." (citation in Historical Military Terms list description)

    October 9, 2008

  • "'... when he came to see us in England my father and I gave him some lessons: it was riposte, counter-riposte, parry or tierce all through that summer; but at least he survived.'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 183

    February 29, 2008