What Does Once, Twice, Thrice Mean? What Comes After Thrice?

Once twice thrice is a numerical sequence used to represent the numbers one, two, and three. In this article, we’ll explore what the sequence “once, twice, thrice” means and where it came from. But first, let’s understand the types of numerical terms.

Types of Numerical Terms

There are different types of numerical terms and they all have different functions. Here’s a look at a few of these numerical terms.

Cardinal Numbers

Cardinal numbers are one, two, and three. This particular numerical term is used regularly in our daily life. They represent simple quantity. The names of cardinal numbers are derived from old English.

Collective Numerals

These represent sets and fall under several subcategories. Some subcategories represent kinships, such as twin, triplet, and quadruplet. There are also categories for musical terms like a duo, trio, and quartet. You can also find singleton too such as dozen, pair, etc.

Composite Numbers

Composite numbers as the name imply represent composition. It tells you what something is composed of, that is, it is made up of a single item, two items, three items, and so on. Composite numbers are unary, binary, ternary, quaternary, etc. binary is the most commonly used composite number.

Multiplicative Numbers

Multiplicative numbers are used to represent repetition. Once, twice, and thrice are multiplicative numbers.

Ordinal Numbers

First, second, and third are examples of ordinal numbers. They are used to represent sequential order. The term Second is anomalous in this group as it comes from Latin and not old English like the others.

Partitive Numbers

This group of numbers represents fractions. They include half, quarter, thirds, fourths, and so on. Half is derived from Old English and it originally meant part. The others are also derived from Old English.

Ranking Numerals

These are used to denote rank. They include primary, secondary, and tertiary. They represent the degree of relevance or importance. Ranking numerals have Latin origins.

Reproductive Numbers

Reproductive numbers represent replication. They include single, double, triple, etc. as well as the generic term multiple. Single and double are originally from Latin by way of French, while the higher values are completely Latin in origin.

Types Of Numerical Terms
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What Does Once, Twice, Thrice Mean?

The numerical sequence “once, twice, thrice” means “one time, two times, three times.” Once means “one time,” twice means “two times,” and thrice means “three times.”

What Comes After Thrice?

By now you know the different types of numerical terms; you know the type of numerical term once, twice, and thrice are, you also know their origin. But what comes after thrice? If thrice comes after twice, then what comes after thrice?

By most accounts, there is nothing following thrice on the sequence. It just ends there. According to the Oxford Dictionary, nothing comes after thrice. However, several terms have popped up claiming to be the continuation of the sequence. Some of these include quince, frice, fourice, quarce, and quadrice all of which have been claimed to mean four times.

Since none of these terms have been acknowledged by the oxford dictionary, it is hard to say with certainty which of them comes after thrice. Considering how rare it is to use the word thrice, it stands to reason that if there was a term to mean four times, it would be used even less.

It is easier and preferable to say three times, four times, five times, six times, and so on than to look for accompanying terms that’ll follow the sequence once twice thrice.

The Origin of Once, Twice, and Thrice

We’ve seen that different numerical terms have different functions, and thanks to that, we know that once twice thrice are multiplicative numbers. Now let’s take a look at the origin.

Most numerical terms have their root in Latin words or Old English words. Once, twice and thrice belongs to the group with Old English roots.

Once is an adverbial term derived from middle English “ones” (one) and old English “anes” (of one). It is often used to denote frequency, that is, a phenomenon occurring one and only one time.

It can also be used to describe something that previously occurred. An example is “He was once a quiet boy.” Once here tell us that the boy was quiet in the past, but that is no longer the case.

Twice, formerly “twise” is derived from Middle English terms “twies” and “twizes” and old English “twiges”. It is an adverb that means two times and is often used to specify when an item is doubled in quantity, degree, or intensity. It is also used when a phenomenon occurs more than one time. Here’s an example “The movie was so good I watched it twice.”

Now that you know the use of once and twice, you should be able to say what comes after twice and it is mean

If you follow the logic/pattern of the previous two and say thrice is what comes after twice, you would be correct. It means three times. Like the previous two, it comes from Middle English and Old English terms that mean three times.

Unlike once and twice, thrice is somewhat dated in American and even British use. The few instances where it is still used are meant to signify an intentionally archaic or comical archetype. Meanwhile, it is preferable to say once and twice than to say one time and two times. You may come across thrice in terms like thrice removed and thrice monthly but they rarely occur.


The beauty of English, of any language really, is that it is continuously evolving. So perhaps in the future, we would have terms to signify four times, five times, and so on. But for now, there is no follow-up to the sequence once, twice, and thrice.

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