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3 ( three; ) is a , , and . It is the following 2 and preceding 4.


Evolution of the glyph
Three is the largest number still written with as many lines as the number represents. (The usually wrote 4 as IIII, but this was almost entirely replaced by the subtractive notation IV in the Middle Ages.) To this day 3 is written as three lines in Roman and . This was the way the Indians wrote it, and the made the three lines more curved. The Nagari started rotating the lines clockwise and ending each line with a slight downward stroke on the right. Eventually, they made these strokes connect with the lines below, and evolved it to a character that looks very much like a modern 3 with an extra stroke at the bottom as . It was the Western Ghubar who finally eliminated the extra stroke and created our modern 3. (The "extra" stroke, however, was very important to the Eastern Arabs, and they made it much larger, while rotating the strokes above to lie along a horizontal axis, and to this day Eastern Arabs write a 3 that looks like a mirrored 7 with ridges on its top line): ٣Georges Ifrah, The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer transl. David Bellos et al. London: The Harvill Press (1998): 393, Fig. 24.63

While the shape of the 3 character has an ascender in most modern , in typefaces with the character usually has a , as, for example, in . In some text-figure typefaces, though, it has an ascender instead of a descender.


Flat top 3
A common variant of the digit 3 has a flat top, similar to the character Ʒ (). This form is sometimes used to prevent people from fraudulently changing a 3 into an 8. It is usually found on UPC-A barcodes and standard 52-card decks.


In mathematics
3 is:
  • a rough approximation of (3.1415...) and a very rough approximation of e (2.71828..) when doing quick estimates.
  • the number of non-collinear points needed to determine a plane and a .
  • the first odd and the second smallest prime.
  • the first ().
  • the first ().
  • the second Sophie Germain prime.
  • the second Mersenne prime exponent.
  • the second ().
  • the second .
  • the second triangular number. It is the only prime triangular number.
  • the fourth .
  • the smallest number of sides that a simple (non-self-intersecting) can have.
  • the only number for which n, n+10 and n+20 are prime.

Three is the only prime which is one less than a . Any other number which is for some integer n is not prime, since it is . This is true for 3 as well (with ), but in this case the smaller factor is 1. If n is greater than 2, both and are greater than 1 so their product is not prime.

A is by three if the in base 10 is divisible by 3. For example, the number 21 is divisible by three (3 times 7) and the sum of its digits is 2 + 1 = 3. Because of this, the reverse of any number that is divisible by three (or indeed, any of its digits) is also divisible by three. For instance, 1368 and its reverse 8631 are both divisible by three (and so are 1386, 3168, 3186, 3618, etc.). See also Divisibility rule. This works in base 10 and in any positional numeral system whose divided by three leaves a remainder of one (bases 4, 7, 10, etc.).

Three of the five have triangular faces – the , the , and the . Also, three of the five Platonic solids have vertices where three faces meet – the , the (), and the . Furthermore, only three different types of comprise the faces of the five Platonic solids – the , the , and the .

There are only three distinct 4×4 .

According to and the school, the number 3, which they called triad, is the noblest of all digits, as it is the only number to equal the sum of all the terms below it, and the only number whose sum with those below equals the product of them and itself.

The trisection of the angle was one of the three famous problems of antiquity.

proved that every integer is the sum of at most 3 triangular numbers.


In numeral systems
There is some evidence to suggest that early man may have used counting systems which consisted of "One, Two, Three" and thereafter "Many" to describe counting limits. Early peoples had a word to describe the quantities of one, two, and three but any quantity beyond was simply denoted as "Many". This is most likely based on the prevalence of this phenomenon among people in such disparate regions as the deep Amazon and Borneo jungles, where western civilization's explorers have historical records of their first encounters with these indigenous people.
9781840464313


List of basic calculations
3 × x36912151821242730333639424548515457606366697275150300300030000

3 ÷ x31.510.750.60.50.0.3750.0.3 !0.0.250.0.20.20.18750.10.10.10.15
x ÷ 30.0.11.1.22.2.33. !3.44.4.55.5.66.6.

3392781243729218765611968359049 !17714753144115943234782969143489074304672112914016338742048911622614673486784401
x1827641252163435127291000 !1331172821972744337540964913583268598000


In science
  • The Roman numeral III stands for in the Yerkes spectral classification scheme.
  • Three is the of .
  • Three is the code of "End of Text".
  • Three is the number of dimensions that humans can perceive. Humans perceive the to have three spatial , but some theories, such as , suggest there are more.
  • The , a with three edges and three vertices, is the most stable physical shape. For this reason it is widely utilized in construction, engineering and design." Most stable shape- triange". Maths in the city. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  • The ability of the to distinguish is based upon the varying sensitivity of different cells in the to light of different . Humans being , the retina contains three types of color receptor cells, or .


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In [[protoscience
  • In European , the three primes (Latin: tria prima) were salt (), () and mercury ().Eric John Holmyard. Alchemy. 1995. p.153Walter J. Friedlander. The golden wand of medicine: a history of the caduceus symbol in medicine. 1992. p.76-77
  • The three (weaknesses) and their are the basis of Ayurvedic medicine in India.


In pseudoscience
  • Three is the symbolic representation for Mu, Augustus Le Plongeon's and 's lost continent.


In philosophy
  • Philosophers such as , , , C. S. Peirce, and have made threefold divisions, or trichotomies, which have been important in their work.
  • 's dialectic of Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis creates three-ness from two-ness.


In religion
Many world religions contain triple deities or concepts of trinity, including:


In Christianity
  • The of Christ is a Christian doctrine that Christ performs the functions of , , and king.
  • The ministry of Jesus lasted approximately three years (27–30 AD).
  • During the Agony in the Garden, Christ asked three times for the chalice to be taken from his lips.
  • Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his death (Sunday, April 9, 30 AD).
  • The devil tempted Jesus three times.
  • thrice denied Jesus and thrice affirmed his faith in Jesus
  • The – wise men who were astronomers/astrologers from Persia – gave Jesus three gifts.
  • There are three and three epistles of John.
  • Paul the Apostle went blind for three days after his conversion to Christianity.


In Judaism
  • had three sons: Ham, and
  • The Three Patriarchs: , and
  • The prophet beat his donkey three times.
  • The prophet spent three days and nights in the belly of a large fish
  • Three divisions of the Written : (Five Book of Moses), Nevi'im (Prophets), (Writings)
  • Three divisions of the Jewish people: , , Yisrael
  • Three daily : , ,
  • Three meals
  • Shabbat ends when three stars are visible in the night sky
  • Three Pilgrimage Festivals: , ,
  • Three on the table
  • The Three Weeks, a period of mourning bridging the fast days of Seventeenth of Tammuz and Tisha B'Av
  • Three cardinal sins for which a Jew must die rather than transgress: idolatry, , sexual immorality
  • , a Jewish boy's first haircut at age 3
  • A is composed of three members
  • Potential converts are traditionally turned away three times to test their sincerity
  • In the tradition of the , it is believed that consists of three parts, with the highest being neshamah ("breath"), the middle being ("wind" or "spirit") and the lowest being ("repose").Kaplan, Aryeh. " The Soul". Aish. From The Handbook of Jewish Thought (Vol. 2, Maznaim Publishing. Reprinted with permission.) September 4, 2004. Retrieved February 24, 2015. Sometimes the two elements of Chayah ("life" or "animal") and Yechidah ("unit") are additionally mentioned.
  • In the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life (Hebrew: Etz ha-Chayim, עץ החיים) refers to a latter 3-pillar diagrammatic representation of its central mystical symbol, known as the .


In Buddhism
  • The Triple (ways to understand the end of birth) are Budhu, Pasebudhu, and Mahaarahath.
  • The , the three things that Buddhists take refuge in.


In Shinto
  • The Imperial Regalia of Japan of the sword, mirror, and jewel.


In Taoism


In Hinduism


In Zoroastrianism
  • The three virtues of Humata, Hukhta and Huvarshta (Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds) are a basic tenet in .


In Norse mythology
Three is a very significant number in , along with its powers 9 and 27.
  • Prior to Ragnarök, there will be three hard winters without an intervening summer, the .
  • Odin endured three hardships upon the World Tree in his quest for the : he hanged himself, wounded himself with a spear, and suffered from hunger and thirst.
  • had three sons, , , and Vé.


In other religions
  • The Rule of Three.
  • The Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone; the three fates.
  • The sons of : , , and .
  • The Slavic god Triglav has three heads.


In esoteric tradition
  • The Theosophical Society has three conditions of membership.
  • 's and the .
  • Liber AL vel Legis, the central scripture of the religion of , consists of three chapters, corresponding to three divine narrators respectively: , and .
  • The Triple Greatness of Hermes Trismegistus is an important theme in .


As a lucky or unlucky number
Three (三, formal writing: 叁, sān, : saam1) is considered a in because it sounds like the word "alive" (生 pinyin shēng, Cantonese: saang1), compared to four (四, pinyin: , Cantonese: sei1), which sounds like the word "death" (死 pinyin , Cantonese: sei2).

Counting to three is common in situations where a group of people wish to perform an action in : Now, on the count of three, everybody pull! Assuming the counter is proceeding at a uniform rate, the first two counts are necessary to establish the rate, and the count of "three" is predicted based on the timing of the "one" and "two" before it. Three is likely used instead of some other number because it requires the minimal amount counts while setting a rate.

In and , there is a widespread superstition that considers it inauspicious to take a photo with three people in it; it is professed that the person in the middle will die first.

There is another superstition that it is unlucky to take a third light, that is, to be the third person to light a cigarette from the same match or lighter. This superstition is sometimes asserted to have originated among soldiers in the trenches of the First World War when a sniper might see the first light, take aim on the second and fire on the third.

The phrase "" refers to the superstition that after two failures in any endeavor, a third attempt is more likely to succeed. This is also sometimes seen in reverse, as in "third man to gets caught".

, especially bad luck, is often said to "come in threes".See " bad" in the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 2006, via Encyclopedia.com.


In sports
  • In American and Canadian football, a is worth 3 points.
  • In association football:
    • For purposes of league standings, almost all leagues award three points for a win.
    • A team that wins three trophies in a season is said to have won a treble.
  • In scorekeeping, "3" denotes the first baseman.
  • In :
    • 3 points are awarded for a basket made from behind a designated arc on the floor.
    • The "3 position" is the .
  • In , three strikes bowled consecutively is known as a "turkey".
  • In (Gaelic football for and women, , and ), 3 points are awarded for a goal, scored when the ball passes underneath the crossbar and between the goal posts.
  • In professional wrestling, a pin is when one holds the opponent's shoulders against the mat for a count of three.
  • In , a successful penalty kick for goal or is worth 3 points.
  • A "" is a term for winning three consecutive championships.
  • A consists of three events: swimming, bicycling, and running.
  • In many sports a competitor or team is said to win a Triple Crown if they win three particularly prestigious competitions.


See also

  • Wells, D. The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers London: Penguin Group. (1987): 46–48


External links

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