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Treble vs. triple

Where treble has to do with threes, there is no substantive difference between it and tripleTreble is favored in a few specific contexts (in the game of darts, for instance), but triple is generally favored everywhere else. Even in British English, where treble is most common, triple appears approximately three times for every instance of treble. In American English, treble is almost unheard of except in relation to sound and music.

Examples

The proposal made public Tuesday more than triples the area proposed as critical habitat for the Mississippi gopher frog. [Houston Chronicle]

The desert nation plans to more than treble annual gas output to 230 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2030. [Reuters]

Triple-check that the arm holes are large enough and positioned properly for your little trick-or-treater. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

I always treble-check my passport after going to Las Vegas to do a BBC programme a couple of years ago. [Telegraph]

Twitter’s ad revenues are expected to triple this year. [Forbes]

Onslow, where the population is expected to treble, will receive a $250 million package. [Sydney Morning Herald]

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Comments

  1. David Bandel says:

    Treble is also used in legal speak. Ex: The plaintiff is seeking treble damages.

  2. grammarwise says:

    triple is an adjective. 
    eg. You score triple points by…

    treble is a verb.
    eg. You can treble your points by…

    End of discussion.

  3. @grammarwise triple and treble both work as a verb, adverb. adjective and even a noun (source Chambers ED) . The use of them in your example is one I personally prefer as well, and one that the Minster Guide to English Usage (1979) claims is more usual but not prescriptive. It also mentions treble also being the preferred noun and triple having the addtional meaining of threefold. . It remains personal and the two words remain synonyms as the original post suggests. I think saying “treble zero” in a phone number, for example, sounds better than “triple zero”. On a related matter, in American English i am suprised by the number of speakers who use “two-times” instead of twice; something that I think would never be heard this side of the pond.

  4. reardensteel says:

    One should always say treble crochet when referring to the yarn maneuver.

  5. reardensteel says:

    Maybe the struggle arises from the words double and quadruple.
    People just can’t decide whether to go with the b or the p.

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