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Any of various seabirds primarily of the genus Sterna found worldwide, typically smaller than a gull and having a forked tail.
[Of Scandinavian origin.]
1. Games A set of three, especially a combination of three numbers that wins a lottery.
2. A three-masted schooner.
(Animals) any aquatic bird of the subfamily Sterninae, having a forked tail, long narrow wings, a pointed bill, and a typically black-and-white plumage: family Laridae (gulls, etc), order Charadriiformes
[C18: from Old Norse therna; related to Norwegian terna, Swedish tärna]
1. (Nautical Terms) a three-masted schooner
2. rare a group of three
[C14: from Old French terne, from Italian terno, from Latin ternī three each; related to Latin ter thrice, trēs three]
any of various web-footed aquatic birds of the subfamily Sterninae (family Laridae), resembling gulls, though typically smaller and slimmer.
[1670–80; < Dan terne or Norwegian terna, c. Old Norse therna]
Ternset of three; trio; triplet; a group of three stanzas in poetry, 1856.