Definition of tertian in English:



  • attributive Denoting a form of malaria causing a fever that recurs every second day.

    • ‘That August, however, Marvell died in his house in Great Russell Street from medical treatment prescribed for a tertian ague.’
    • ‘Benign tertian malaria may not be seen until several years after arrival.’
    • ‘After much thought, the only thing I could see that was left to do was to give the historical treatment of inducing bouts of fever by infecting the patient with benign tertian malaria.’
    • ‘Two tertian malarial species, Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale, may appear to be similar morphologically.’
    • ‘A list of patients admitted during the hospital's first years shows that reasons for admission included hysterick disorders, bloody flux, tertian ague, and melancholy.’


Late Middle English ( fever) terciane, from Latin ( febris) tertiana, from tertius ‘third’ (the fever recurring every third day by inclusive reckoning).