Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, mid 16th century
Third in order or level.
Relating to or denoting the medical treatment provided at a specialist institution.
Examples of Tertiary in a sentence
"If my top two paint colors aren't available, I'll still be happy with the tertiary one on the list."
"My primary care doctor recommended I visit a physical therapist for tertiary treatment."
Popularity Over Time
Quite simply, tertiary means third. But it has specialized definitions in many applications. To geologists, "tertiary" is a specific period of the Cenozoic area. Chemists use the term to describe particular organic compounds, and ecologists call carnivores that eat other carnivores "tertiary."
Did you Know?
Elementary school is required across the board, as is secondary school (commonly known as middle and high school in the U.S.). But education beyond that is a personal choice. In the United States you can go to college, but in Britain it's called tertiary education.