AskDefine | Define tierce

Dictionary Definition



1 the third canonical hour; about 9 a.m. [syn: terce]
2 the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one and one [syn: three, 3, III, trio, threesome, leash, troika, triad, trine, trinity, ternary, ternion, triplet, tercet, terzetto, trey, deuce-ace]
3 one of three equal parts of a divisible whole; "it contains approximately a third of the minimum daily requirement" [syn: one-third, third]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • italbrac RP /ˈtɪəs/
  • italbrac US /ˈtɪɚs/
  • italbrac RP /ˈtɜːs/ (card)


From tierce.


  1. 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.
  1. Quotations
    • 1882, Again, by 28 Hen. VIII, cap. 14, it is re-enacted that the tun of wine should contain 252 gallons, a butt of Malmsey 126 gallons, a pipe 126 gallons, a tercian or puncheon 84 gallons, a hogshead 63 gallons, a tierce 41 gallons, a barrel 31.5 gallons, a rundlet 18.5 gallons. — James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, p. 205.
  2. A cask larger than a barrel, and smaller than a hogshead or a puncheon, in which salt provisions, rice, etc., are packed for shipment.
  3. The third tone of the scale. See mediant.
  4. A sequence of three playing cards of the same suit. Tierce of ace, king, queen, is called tierce-major.
  5. The third defensive position, with the sword hand held at waist height, and the tip of the sword at head height.
  6. An ordinary that covers the left or right third of the field of a shield or flag.
  7. (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 tertia.


tierce (plural: tierces)
  1. feminine of tiers


  1. third
  2. terce

Extensive Definition

The tierce is an old English unit of wine casks, holding about 159 litres. From 1824 on it was defined by English law to be 35 imperial gallons, before that (and still in the USA) it was 42 wine gallons—the difference being less than tenth of a percent. It is closely related to the modern petrol barrel.

See also

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