Two’s company, three’s a crowd

Two’s company, three’s a crowd is a proverb with roots that stretch back at least to the 1600s. We will examine the meaning of the expression two’s company, three’s a crowd, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd is quoted when two people want to be alone together and the presence of a third person stops that from happening. Usually, when a couple invokes the proverb two’s company, three’s a crowd, they are romantically involved. However, sometimes the proverb is used when two friends do not enjoy the company of a third person. The origin of the phrase two’s company, three’s a crowd is traced to a proverb quoted in John Ray’s 1678 collection of English Proverbs: “One’s too few, three too many.” By the 1800s three versions of the proverb were in use: “Two’s company but three are none”; “Two’s company but three’s trumpery”; and “Two’s company but three’s a crowd.” The proverb two’s’ company, three’s a crowd seems to have appeared in America in the 1850s. Interestingly, the proverb contains contractions. A form without contractions (two is company, three is a crowd) is rarely seen.

Examples

Canada: Two’s Company; Three’s A Crowd – Competition Tribunal Okays Vancouver Airport Authority’s Ability To Limit Number Of In-Flight Caterers (Mondaq News)

Therein lies the tension in Sincerely, Oscar, the meandering mindbender at the Acorn Theatre where two’s company, three’s a crowd, and thirty songs take us on a jazzed-up journey through Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, State Fair, Allegro, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. (Broadway World)

THE saying two’s company, three’s a crowd, seems to be the case for a trio of female Strictly Come Dancing professionals. (The Sun)

Eyal was first accused of being a big bastard when, while Alex was having a private chat with Megan, Eyal came over and confirmed to us all that indeed ‘two’s company, three’s a crowd’. (Cosmopolitan Magazine)

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