Definitions

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

  • noun A measure of liquid capacity, equal to a third of a pipe, or 42 gallons (159 liters).
  • noun Games A sequence of three cards of the same suit.
  • noun Sports The third position from which a parry or thrust can be made in fencing.
  • noun Music An interval of a third.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

  • adjective (Her.) Divided into three equal parts of three different tinctures; -- said of an escutcheon.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A cask larger than a barrel, and smaller than a hogshead or a puncheon, in which salt provisions, rice, etc., are packed for shipment.
  • noun (Mus.) The third tone of the scale. See Mediant.
  • noun A sequence of three playing cards of the same suit. Tierce of ace, king, queen, is called tierce-major.
  • noun (Fencing) A position in thrusting or parrying in which the wrist and nails are turned downward.
  • noun (R. C. Ch.) The third hour of the day, or nine a. m,; one of the canonical hours; also, the service appointed for that hour.

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

  • noun 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.
  • noun A cask larger than a barrel, and smaller than a hogshead or a puncheon, in which salt provisions, rice, etc., are packed for shipment.
  • noun music The third tone of the scale. See mediant.
  • noun card games A sequence of three playing cards of the same suit. Tierce of ace, king and queen is called tierce-major.
  • noun fencing The third defensive position, with the sword hand held at waist height, and the tip of the sword at head height.
  • noun heraldry An ordinary that covers the left or right third of the field of a shield or flag.
  • noun religion, Roman Catholic The third hour of the day, or nine a. m,; one of the canonical hours; also, the service appointed for that hour.
  • noun obsolete 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from feminine of tiers, third, from Latin tertius; see trei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French tierce.

Examples

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

    The Black Moth: A Romance of the XVIII Century

  • 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

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

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

  • 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

  • '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 — Volume 05

  • 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

Comments

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  • "'... 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

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

    October 9, 2008

  • Another usage on longé.

    January 19, 2010