General English

  • noun a boy’s high-pitched soprano voice
  • noun a high-pitched musical instrument


  • verb to increase three times, or to make something three times larger


  • Within the audio-frequency spectrum, the high end of the detectable frequencies. This interval usually spans from about 2,000 or 5,000 Hz to about 20,000 Hz, although the defined interval varies. Also called treble frequencies.

Media Studies

  • noun the higher audio frequencies electronically reproduced by a radio, recording or sound system
  • noun a control for increasing or decreasing the high frequency output of a radio or audio amplifier

Origin & History of “treble”

Treble and triple (15th c.) come from the same ultimate source: Latin triplus ‘threefold’. this in turn was borrowed from Greek triplous, a compound adjective formed from tri- ‘three’ and the base *pl- ‘fold’ (which lies behind English ply and is related to English fold). Triplus passed into Old French, where it split into two: treble and triple. both were taken over into English (the former has now died out in French). The application of treble to the highest part in music, equivalent to soprano, which dates from the 14th century, probably comes from the notion of its being the ‘third’ part, above bass and alto.