Definition of third class in US English:

third class

noun

  • 1A group of people or things considered together as third best.

    • ‘To you few lacklustre folk in the third class; consider yourselves suspended (until you fix up).’
    1. 1.1British A university degree or examination result in the third-highest classification.
    2. 1.2US A cheap class of mail for advertising and other printed material that weighs less than 16 ounces and is unsealed.
      post, letters, packages, parcels, correspondence, communications, airmail
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3historical The cheapest and least comfortable accommodations in a train or ship.
      • ‘It doesn't matter whether you are in first class or third class, but it is essential that you get on the train.’
      • ‘By comparison rail fares were around 1d per mile in first-class and 1 / 2d in third-class.’
      • ‘Her first passage cost twenty dollars and she and all the other immigrants on board travelled in steerage or third-class.’

adverb & adjective

  • 1Of the third-best quality or of lower status.

    as adjective ‘many indigenous groups are still viewed as third-class citizens’
    • ‘Quasi-experiments, natural experiments, mere observations and qualitative investigations are castigated as second- or even third-class methods.’
    • ‘Markus and his third-class version of guilty sympathy made me more incensed and panicked than Tom's threatening and blackmailing ways.’
    • ‘The triumph of the civil rights movement was that it removed the legal practices of segregation, which made black people second and third-class citizens.’
    • ‘But it can never be forgotten that the system itself was evil, inhumane and degrading for the many millions who became its second and third class citizens.’
    • ‘Companies injecting between 10 million and 40 million leva into a project will be considered third-class investors.’
    • ‘You get third-class marks, you get a third-round offer.’
    • ‘By and large, their rights remain extremely restricted and with the tourist trade in full swing, and a major part of the national economy, they tend to be treated as second- or third-class citizens within their own country.’
    • ‘The government has committed to pay the hospital costs of poor dengue patients treated in the third-class wards of hospitals.’
    • ‘Set in 1939, the film tells the story of one widow as she attempts to deal with her third-class status in India.’
    • ‘We were third-class citizens, working hard to become citizens and to be able to vote.’
    • ‘By contrast, Todd suggested, Scotland had a shortage of top-class courses, so tourists were being directed instead to second and third-class courses.’
    • ‘These third-class citizens were often tenant farmers who found themselves in credit debt, a financial situation which left them legally bound to work without pay for elite land-owners.’
    • ‘The stickers will be valid for one week, one month or one year and will allow their owners to use the highways, and the first, second and third-class roads in the respective period.’
    • ‘First Class post isn't that cheap - so why are we getting a third class service?’
    • ‘It was decided to keep the minimum purchase prices of third class Oriental tobacco and to reduce the prices for third class broad-leaved tobacco.’
    • ‘Unlike Gibson's kindly fiction, the historical Pilate was an ordinary imperial procurator in a third-class province who kept his legions busy with brutal executions of Jewish and Samaritan rebels.’
    • ‘If not for its efforts, our society and its institutions would still be quite exclusive, and we would still be truly third-class citizens.’
    • ‘Once classified by the government as a first-class city, Naga now languished with a third-class rating.’
    • ‘It's not just a third-class trucker's license.’
    • ‘American workers confront a social and political system which turns them into second and third-class citizens.’
    1. 1.1British as adjective Relating to the third-highest division in a university examination.
      ‘he left university with a third-class degree’
      • ‘More specifically, every lecturer realises that awarding a third-class degree (or failing a student in a module) means that his teaching methods will inevitably be called to account.’
      • ‘The system of first, upper and lower second and third-class degrees ‘has outlived its usefulness’ according to a working group of academics.’
      • ‘He emerged with a third-class degree in English.’
      • ‘Like many others quoted today, I was only mildly interested in the story until the mention of Ms Dawson's third-class honours degree came up.’
      • ‘When Rice left Bristol University, with a third class degree in theology, it was not immediately obvious what she might do with her life.’
      • ‘The appellant resat her finals and was awarded a third class degree, which is not good enough for the further career options which she wanted and still wants to pursue.’
      • ‘Distracted from his studies, he graduates with a third-class degree and decides to become a writer.’
      • ‘She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School and Somerville College, Oxford, where she read modern history and obtained a third-class degree in 1928.’
      • ‘At 17 she passed the entrance exams at Cambridge and studied engineering, but although much has been made of her 154 IQ, she emerged from university with a third class degree.’
      • ‘She later retook her finals and was awarded a third class degree - the most she could be awarded under the regulations following a resit.’
      • ‘Figures from Cambridge showed far fewer scored firsts and many more got third-class degrees than their peers.’
      • ‘This illustrated the male tendency to go to extremes - the human version being that men tended to get first or third-class degrees; women tended to get seconds.’
      • ‘Georgina was awarded a third class honours degree from Melbourne University.’
      • ‘Fake your CV so it shows you failed most of your A-levels and just managed to scrape a third-class management degree from a former polytechnic your dad gave a few thousand quid to, and you will be an irresistible prospect.’
    2. 1.2US Relating to a cheap class of mail including advertising and other printed material weighing less than 16 ounces.
      as adjective ‘third-class mail’
      • ‘The divisions operate on a semiannual schedule, sending spring and fall meeting abstracts and newsletters to their members via third-class mail.’
      • ‘Note of course that filing a change of address or hold in her name is a crime, and a change of address wouldn't stop the third-class mail anyway.’
      • ‘The print material is sent via first-class mail the same day the video is sent via third-class mail.’
      • ‘How many others do more than just toss the third-class postal announcements or e-mail newsletters or let their bumper stickers and buttons gather dust on a shelf?’
      • ‘Due to a backlog of requests - and because those requests were sent through the mail, third class - the alerts take up to six months to process.’
    3. 1.3historical Relating to the cheapest and least comfortable accommodations in a train or ship.
      as adjective ‘a suffocating third-class compartment’
      as adverb ‘I traveled third class across Europe’
      • ‘The trains on Saturday included a third-class carriage and a 1937 buffet car, which was the first to be restored to its original condition.’
      • ‘Indeed, the U.S. team traveled third class: long plane flights, cramped and cheap hotels and $10 per day in meal money.’
      • ‘He said the third-class train had no dining car, but that passengers often brought gas cylinders and small stoves aboard despite regulations forbidding it.’
      • ‘The description of their honeymoon voyage on a third-class train in India is a predictable Orientalist travelogue.’
      • ‘We had a good flight to Delhi, then headed out on an overnight train to Varanasi, which was actually okay, even though first and second class were fully booked, forcing us to travel third class!’
      • ‘In order to draw as little attention as possible, I left Ping and and his father in a third-class compartment and settled myself into a second-class car.’
      • ‘He could not enter restaurants or cafés apart from third-class railway and steamer buffets.’
      • ‘Many passengers expressed the same frustration: the third-class carriage is the only available option for trips to and from Cairo; and the service remains sub-human even as ticket prices continue to soar.’
      • ‘There are two third-class compartments and a brake van for the guard and luggage.’
      • ‘What, I wondered, were second- and third-class accommodations like?’
      • ‘After reaching the Victoria Terminus Railway Station in Mumbai, on my way to his ashram, I rode all night in a third class train compartment to Chandrapur, about 50 miles from Nagpur in Maharashtra.’
      • ‘He compromises his position in English society by assaulting a servant in a third-class railway carriage.’
      • ‘He preferred the hard board of the third-class compartment, now abolished, rather than the cushioned first class of the railways.’
      • ‘On the same train, in the third-class section, sits Vera Claythorne.’
      • ‘Segregated first-, second- and third-class Victorian railway carriages are the wrong model for 21st century education.’
      • ‘The pair were travelling together on the same third-class ticket.’
      • ‘The train gets ready to leave and we scramble for our precious third-class seats.’
      • ‘Once whilst traveling in a third class train compartment he lost his shoe whilst transferring from one carriage to another.’

Pronunciation

third class

/ˈˌTHərd ˈklas//ˈˌθərd ˈklæs/