Third Times a Charm - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you setting up for your third attempt at a task or action? If that's the case, you could whisper, "third times a charm" to yourself to motivate you to succeed. You could also say "third times a charm" to someone else to give them a boost of self-confidence to help them achieve their goals with their third attempt.

This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning, origin, and use cases for the phrase "third times a charm."

Third Times a Charm Meaning

"Third times a charm" means that the third time you complete an action is your lucky break, and you'll get success with whatever you're doing. One person usually says the phrase to another, but you can say it to yourself or when referring to others' actions.

Typically, the "third time's a charm" is a positive, reinforcing statement to motivate yourself or another person to achieve success. The phrase means that you failed at two previous attempts at completing a task or action, and you'll make it with this attempt.

Third Times a Charm Example Usage

"I'm going for my driving test again today, third times a charm."

"I hope this girl says yes to go to the prom; two already turned me down. Well, third times a charm."

"She's married twice before, maybe the third times a charm."

"I lost money in the first two Bitcoin bubbles, but third times a charm."

"They have two daughters and really want a son, maybe third times a charm for them."

"Reg lost his first two businesses, maybe the third times a charm."

Third Times a Charm Origin

The origin of "third times a charm" dates back to the 17th century. The British believed the number "3" was lucky, bestowing fortune on a person when they encountered it in their life. First used in the 1800s, the phrase still has plenty of use in modern language, and you've probably heard people around you use it from time to time.

The British would also coin the phrase "third time lucky," which has an identical meaning. By replacing the "charm" with "lucky," the Brits gave the phrase a modern update. Today, the "third time lucky" version is the more popular of the two expressions.

Some language experts suggest that the phrase has its origins in the Old English execution methods of the 1800s. If the court sentenced a man to death by hanging and survived three attempts at the hanging, they would walk free.

This strange law comes from the tale of John "Babbacombe" Lee. The man was convicted of murder, and all three attempts to hang him at Exeter prison failed. After the third failed attempt, the courts set him free.

Phrases Similar to Third Times a Charm

  • You got this.
  • This time for sure.
  • It has to happen sometime.

Phrases Opposite to Third Times a Charm

  • It's never going to work.
  • Good luck with that.
  • The definition of insanity is repeating your actions and expecting different results.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Third times a charm.
  • Third time lucky.

Ways People May Say Third Times a Charm Incorrectly

Some people may use "third times a charm" incorrectly or in the wrong context. Using it as a sarcastic phrase is less common than its use as a motivating phrase.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Third Times a Charm

You can use "third times a charm" in professional and social settings. It's a common phrase across all generations but more common in Gen X and Boomers. Third times a charm is a motivating phrase that inspires hope in the face of consistent failure.

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