Three twins?

HareBrain

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In the story I'm writing I have three constructed creatures that have been given life. If there were two, I would definitely call them "twins", but I don't want to call them "triplets" because to me that strongly suggests birth. I'm sure I've come across sets of more than two individuals referred to as twins, but I can't confirm this with Google, and I've had a couple of readers query it. Can anyone back this up? (Or suggest an alternative word?)
 

M. Robert Gibson

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A duckduckgo search found this page which mentions
"Twin refers to one of two children or animals born at the same birth. Twins, on the other hand, refers to two or more children or animals born at the same birth."
but we don't know how authoritative the site is
 

paranoid marvin

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Hmm. 'Twins' can also suggest birth, but it would depend on the context in which it is used. It can also describe other familiarities or affinities. Eg one town may be 'twinned' with several other towns around the world.

A dictionary definition firstly describes triplets as 'one of three offspring produced in the same pregnancy', but then goes on to say 'a combination, set or group of three'.

Although they haven't been 'born', it appears as though they have a relationship to each other, so I see no reason not to use triplets.

If you would prefer alternatives a triple star system can be described as trinary, or perhaps 'sisters' or 'brothers'?
 

Dave

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I'm fairly confident of saying that twins are definitely two born at the same time, and any more is a litter. However, a litter suggests birth even more strongly than triplets.

I would make up a new word/ meaning of a word i.e.

gleek
  • a once-popular game of cards played by three people.
  • three of the same cards held in one hand; three of a kind.

medias
  • pantyhose (stockings connected at the top and pulled up to the waist)
  • three of a kind (in the card game of mus)
 

farntfar

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Other groups of three to consider are
A triptych, which is usually a three part painting, often behind the altar of a church, but has also been the name of a Netflix serial with a sort of limited Orphan Black idea. (be careful. Triptic is something else entirely)
A triad.
A trinity
 

Wayne Mack

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My go to reference indicates twins refers to a group of exactly two and triplets does not necessarily involve birth. Besides triplets, some alternates include: Thesaurus results for TRIPLET

 

The Judge

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I'd also query twin as being used for three things -- I've never come across it for more than two.

Triplet actually referred to three lines of poetry and then three of anything a good while before it meant three offspring, so use it and stop worrying!
 

HareBrain

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Thanks all so far. Looks like I'll have to go with "triplet". Or destroy one of them and remove the problem.

Twins, on the other hand, refers to two or more children or animals born at the same birth."
That website seems very inconsistent on the "or more" aspect, and since it never explains why it sometimes uses it or when "or more" might apply, I'm thinking it's an error. Thanks for the link though.
 

Cat's Cradle

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I was going to suggest a word I thought I was making up, 'twinplet', but then Googled it to see if it exists, and found the following definitions under two spellings of the concept:

"twinplits: Twinplits are groups of 3 babies that are born around the same time and grow up together, but aren't all related by blood. Usually a set of twinplits includes a pair of twins, and a third baby from a different set of parents."
~~
"twinplets: A twinplet is a trio of babies raised together by best friends. When two best friends give birth within weeks of each other, they might call their kids "twinplets"—one friend gives birth to twins, while the other has a single baby."

Not sure if that is of interest, CC
 

HareBrain

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I've just thought, the city I live in has two twin cities (which are also twins with each other). And they're still "twins" even though there are three of them. Are there any other examples like that?
 

The Judge

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Are they referred to as "twins"? I've only ever heard places referred to as "X twinned with Y" -- ie linked to/matched with -- or as being a "twinned" city/town. (I don't got near anything of the kind, though, so may miss out what they call each other informally.)

Personally, I'd only call somewhere a "twin city" if it were identical.

Anyway, the fact there are three of them, each having a relationship with the other two, doesn't affect the fact that each one is twinned with only one at a time, so they're not tripleted!
 

farntfar

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I've just thought, the city I live in has two twin cities (which are also twins with each other). And they're still "twins" even though there are three of them. Are there any other examples like that?
It also happens in France.
For instance, the town of Ambert, famous for its cheese, Forme d'Ambert, est jumelée avec (is twinned wit) Gorgonzola in Italy, and some German town which is also a cheese producer, but I can't remember its name.
I couldn't tell you whether jumelé is used triplets or quadruplets etc. The nouns are the same in French; triplets, quadruplets.

But it is fairly common here to have towns twinned with more than one (generally 2) other town.
 

Danny McG

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I heard someone not long ago (on espying twin toddler girls in town) say loudly
"Aw, look at the cute little twins, two of them"

Does this not signify you could theoretically say "three of them"?
 

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