tern

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

An arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea; etymology 1) photographed on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland, England, U.K.

Etymology 1[edit]

Via an East Anglian dialect [1670s], from some Scandinavian (North Germanic) language, related to Danish terne, Norwegian terne, and Swedish tärna, all from Old Norse þerna (tern; maidservant),[1] ultimately from Proto-Germanic *þewernǭ (maidservant; servant’s daughter), from Proto-Indo-European *tekʷ- (to run; to flow). Cognate with Old English stearn.

Noun[edit]

tern (plural terns)

  1. Any of various seabirds of the subfamily Sternidae (of the family Laridae) that are similar to gulls but are smaller and have a forked tail.
Alternative forms[edit]
  • terne (obsolete, 17th c.)
Hyponyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

PIE word
*tréyes

The noun is derived from Late Middle English terne (throw of a die or dice showing the number three),[2] from Old French terne (gathering of three people; trinity) (modern French terne), from Latin ternās,[3] the accusative feminine plural of ternī (three each; three at a time), from ter (thrice) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *tréyes (three)) + (from -us (suffix forming adjectives)).

The adjective is either derived from the noun, or directly from Latin ternī (three each; three at a time);[3] see above.

Noun[edit]

tern (plural terns)

  1. (dated or obsolete) A thing with three components; a set of three things.
    1. (gambling, dated) A lottery prize resulting from the favourable combination of three numbers in the draw.
Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

tern (not comparable)

  1. (chiefly botany, rare) Consisting of three components; ternate, threefold, triple.
    Synonyms: ternary, treble, trine; see also Thesaurus:triple
    tern flowers; tern leaves
    a tern schooner, one with three masts
Coordinate terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ tern, n.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020; “tern1, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ terne, n.(2)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Compare “tern, adj. and n.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2019; “tern2, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Learned borrowing from Latin ternus.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

tern m (plural terns)

  1. set of three, trio
  2. matching three-piece suit

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Verb[edit]

tern

  1. Alternative form of teren

Romanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French terne.

Adjective[edit]

tern m or n (feminine singular ternă, masculine plural terni, feminine and neuter plural terne)

  1. (literary) matte, lackluster, dull (lacking gloss)
  2. (figuratively) colorless, pale (lacking color or contrast)
    Synonyms: monoton, mohorât

Declension[edit]