three time's a charm

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Wed Jan 14 14:05:39 UTC 2004

> On Tue, 13 Jan 2004, Sam Clements wrote:
> > I found a few US cites from 1932 using the wording "Three time's THE charm."
> >
> > Most of my phrase books(Ammer, etc.) are silent.

The phrase turns up as "Third time is the charm" in James Joyce's
"Ulysses" as well as a number of times in relatively minor American
books of the early part of the 20th century, for example:

1912 "Fran" by John Breckenridge Ellis: Fran looked at Abbott
inscrutably. "Third time's the charm," she said, in a whisper. "I'm
proud of you this time, Abbott."

1917, "We Can't Have Everything", by Rupert Hughes: "The more the
merrier," he said. "The third time's the charm."

1922 "Romance and Tragedy" by William Ingraham Russell: Another
friend off the list--but there were many left. Now for the
next one. "The third time a charm"--perhaps.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at>
Web: <>

More information about the Ads-l mailing list