[Ads-l] Not in the OED -- perhaps with good reason

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 5 09:33:56 UTC 2022

You can find a more extensive discussion of "throuple" (and "threeple"!) in
this thread from last year:


As I noted there, there's a Wordspy entry for "throuple" with examples back
to 2004.


On Thu, May 5, 2022 at 5:01 AM Daphne Preston-Kendal <dpk at nonceword.org>

> Here’s a very early (but isolated) example in a BITNET post from 1994:
> <
> https://groups.google.com/g/bit.listserv.uus-l/c/9aXug6v9u8g/m/1N1-CMCxbzcJ
> >
> And another isolated usage from 1997 (apparently just meaning ‘three’):
> <https://groups.google.com/g/alt.tv.red-dwarf/c/VJSUJynNbpg/m/lc0E6h-s2icJ
> >

Terrific finds! That antedates Wordspy by a decade.

But Google Groups has nothing more for "throuple" until 2014. Searching for
> "throuples" (plural) causes an error for me when trying to go past page 2
> (2017). "trouple" has too much apparently-irrelevant noise for me to
> traipse through.

This is likely due to the terrible state of Usenet searchability via Google
Groups rather than an actual gap in usage. Surely there are more posts with
"throuple" in, say, the alt.polyamory newsgroup that aren't currently
accessible through the usual searches.

Here, at least, are examples of the alternative form "threeple" in
alt.polyamory from 2001 and 2002:



The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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