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Ternary

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ternary

1. Proceeding by threes; consisting of three; as, the ternary number was anciently esteemed a symbol of perfection, and held in great veneration.

2. (Science: chemistry) Containing, or consisting of, three different parts, as elements, atoms, groups, or radicals, which are regarded as having different functions or relations in the molecule; thus, sodic hydroxide, NaOH, is a ternary compound.

Origin: L. Ternarius, fr. Terni. See Tern.