from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The cardinal number equal to 2 + 1.
  • noun The third in a set or sequence.
  • noun Something having three parts, units, or members.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Being the sum of two and one; being one more than two: a cardinal numeral.
  • The writings so condemned. The edict was intended to reconcile the Monophysites to the church by seeming to imply a partial disapproval of the Council of Chalcedon, which had admitted Theodoret and Ibas, after giving explanations, to communion.
  • noun A number the sum of two and one.
  • noun A symbol representing three units, as 3, III, or iii.
  • noun A playing-card bearing three spots or pips.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective One more than two; two and one.
  • noun The number greater by a unit than two; three units or objects.
  • noun A symbol representing three units, as 3 or iii.
  • noun (Arith.) See under Rule, n.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun cardinal A numerical value after two and before four. Represented in Arabic digits as 3; This many dots (•••).
  • noun Describing a set or group with three components.
  • noun The digit/figure 3.
  • noun Anything measuring three units, as length.
  • noun A person who is three years old.
  • noun The playing card featuring three pips.

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

  • noun one of four playing cards in a deck having three pips
  • noun the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one and one
  • adjective being one more than two


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

[Middle English, from Old English thrī; see trei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English þrī, from Proto-Germanic *þrīz, from Proto-Indo-European *tréyes.


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  • A very significant number. Here's a little riff on three, specifically in a scarcely appreciated form: the so-called "Law of Three". In Sufi/Gurejieffian parlance this is the fundamental dynamic of the universe. Three forces are involved in all processes. The most obvious are positive and negative, or as Gurdjieff called them, 'affirming' and 'denying'. In Chinese symbology they are 'yin' and 'yang'. It is the 3rd force, however, which blindsides all humans. Gurdjieff termed it 'reconciling', Jan Cox used the terms 'E-force' or 'E-qualizing' or 'E-rrelevant'. It is represented by the circumscribing circle that in-forms the yin and yang figures.

    Another way to think of 3rd force is as the context, the seeming irrelevant stage upon which thesis and antithesis have their drama, and without which everything would be fatally unsupported, like a cinema film without the "obstruction" of the screen upon which the action unfolds. Were there only two quintessential forces responsible for all phenomena, everything would be locked in a freeze-frame tableau as every positive was balanced by its negative out to every corner of the cosmos, producing gridlock...cubed.

    S/he who is mindful of the significance of three, as applicable to the driving forces inherent in everything from marital spats to world wars to milk souring in the refrigerator, has a big advantage in understanding what's really going on in life.

    The Law of Three is symbolized in the enneagram by the triangle connecting/subtending the 3, 6 and 9 positions on the circumference of the circle. For the knowing observer the beautiful conformance and interrelation of the triangle within the heptagram denoting the the "Law of Seven" in the enneagram illustrates how the Law of Three completes and animates the Law of the Octave and where application of conscious, willful effort is profitable for one's personal expansion of consciousness.

    January 22, 2007

  • 4 x ¾

    November 14, 2008

  • One - not good. Two - well, OK I suppose. Three - perfect. Four up to a hundred, no-no - too many.

    May 2, 2009

  • "Another way to think of 3rd force is as the context, the seeming irrelevant stage upon which thesis and antithesis have their drama ....."

    That paragraph is such meaningless tommyrot from start to finish.

    July 23, 2009

  • One's none

    Two's some

    Three's a penny

    Four is many and

    Five is alive.

    July 23, 2009