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English numbers (edit)
 ←  2 3
    Cardinal: three
    Ordinal: third
    Adverbial: thrice
    Multiplier: triple, threefold
    Distributive: triply
    Fractional: third


From Middle English thrīce, thries (three times, thrice; a third time; repeated three times),[1] from earlier thrī, thrīe (three times, thrice; a third time) (from Old English þriwa, þreowa)[2] + -es (suffix forming adverbs of time, place, and manner) (from Old English -es (suffix forming adverbs)).[3] The word is cognate with Old Frisian thria ("thrice"; > Saterland Frisian träie (thrice)), Middle Low German drîes (thrice), Middle High German drīes, drīs (thrice).


  • IPA(key): /θɹaɪs/
    • (UK) IPA(key): [θɾ̪̊ɑɪs]
    • (US) IPA(key): [θɾ̪̊äɪs]
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  • Rhymes: -aɪs


thrice (not comparable)

  1. (dated) Three times.
    • 1601, Io[hn] Weeuer [i.e., John Weever], The Mirror of Martyrs, or The Life and Death of that Thrice Valiant Captaine, and Most Godly Martyre Sir Iohn Old-castle Knight Lord Cobham[1], [London]: Printed by V[alentine] S[immes] for William Wood, OCLC 228714775:
      Thrice ore the caddow I mine armes outſpred: / Thrice did I fall, before I once could riſe: / Leaning vpon mine elbow for a reſt, / Nodding, I knockt my chin againſt my breſt. // Then ſigh’d, ſlipt downe, and twixt the ſheete and pillow / I nuzled in, joyn’d knees and chin together: / I dream’d I wore a garland of greene willow. / But ſnuffling low, I prickt me with a fether; / So wakt, the bolſter for my backe I choſe, / And yawning thrice, I rub’d mine eyes and roſe.
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iii], page 132, column 1:
      The weyward Siſters, hand in hand, / Poſters of the Sea and Land, / Thus doe goe, about, about, / Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine, / And thrice againe, to make vp nine, / Peace, the Charme’s wound vp.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Mark 14:72:
      And the second time the cocke crew : and Peter called to minde the word that Jesus ſaid unto him, Before the cocke crow twiſe, thou ſhalt denie me thriſe. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
    • 1678, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: [], London: Printed for Nath[aniel] Ponder [], OCLC 228725984; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, [], 1928, OCLC 5190338, page 47:
      How far might I have been on my way by this time! I am made to tread thoſe ſteps thrice over, which I needed not to have trod but once: Yea, now alſo I am like to be benighted, for the day is almoſt ſpent.
    • [1805?], [James] Hook, Once, Twice, Thrice, Sung with Great Applause by Mrs. Bland at Vauxhall Gardens, London: Printed for J. Dale, [], OCLC 498793785, stanza 1, pages 4–5:
      Once, twice, thrice, I met Young Lubin on the Green, / once, twice, thrice, Young Lubin he met me, / the firſt time I beheld the Lad he made a humble bow, / I bluſh'd and hung my ſilly head and felt I don't know how, []
    • 1826, [Walter Scott], chapter IV, in Woodstock; Or, The Cavalier. [] In Three Volumes, volume III, Edinburgh: [] Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, OCLC 991895633, page 107:
      Roger Wildrake, also, who had twice or thrice put to his eyes what remained of a kerchief, interested by the lady's evident distress, though unable to comprehend the mysterious cause, hastened to assist the divine in supporting so fair a burthen.
    • 1918, Thomas Malory; William Patten, compiler, “The Sword Excalibur”, in Heroes and Heroines of Chivalry (The Junior Classics; IV), New York, N.Y.: P[eter] F[enelon] Collier & Son Corporation, OCLC 256489331, page 29:
      And then he [Bedivere] threw the sword into the water as far as he might, and there came an arm and a hand above the water, and met it and caught it, and so shook it thrice and brandished. And then the hand vanished away with the sword in the water.
    • 2018 April 24, Richard Palmer, “Royal baby: ‘Thrice the worry now!’: Prince William captures the reality of parenthood”, in The Sunday Express[2], London, archived from the original on 15 June 2018:
      Seven hours after giving birth [] Kate [Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge] gave the world a first glimpse of their third child, a new Prince of Cambridge. [] Minutes after the brief photocall, the couple headed home with William [the Duke of Cambridge] emerging with his son in a car seat and holding Kate’s hand. “Thrice the worry now,” a smiling William said, holding up three fingers.

Usage notes[edit]

Unlike once and twice, thrice is somewhat dated in American and British usage, sometimes used for a comical or intentionally archaic effect; three times is the more standard and typical usage. On the other hand, once and twice are almost always preferred over one time and two times respectively. Thrice does however retain some currency in compounds like thrice-monthly, and it is still standard and stylistically neutral in Indian English.


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  1. ^ thrīce, adv.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 13 May 2018.
  2. ^ thrī(e, adv.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 13 May 2018.
  3. ^ -es, suf.(1)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 13 May 2018.