What is three twins?

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DontWorryYourHead
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:32 pm

What is three twins?

Post by DontWorryYourHead »

Greetings all! This topic is perhaps a little indulgent but asking the question is what pushed me towards making an account on the forum so I can't very well not ask it without having to question why I'm here in the first place. I've been reading through the archives and one of the strips raised a question that didn't have an immediate answer but proved to be relatively sound fodder for conversation.

In the seminal work Though Creepy Twins are Fine, Griffin regales the reader with musings on some horror movie tropes. I'd like to draw your attention to the alt-text, which reads,
The 'actual evil' coefficient drops sharply after the third twin, not even counting the 'only a lookalike' fraction
The astutely pedantic are sure to recognize the semantic wrinkle: the third twin can't be a twin, they would have to be, at least, a triplet (not even counting the 'only a lookalike' factor). The sentiment is actually almost impossible to state in a way that feels satisfying. At first it seems the only absolutely correct syntax would be "After the third sibling from the same pregnancy," which actually LOSES lexical information because there's no reference to the creepy twin trope in question (or the fact that the Bigglesworths aren't biological "twins" in the traditional sense). We don't call them creepy siblings from the same pregnancy.

What we would really want for the application-nay, what I think we all deserve-is a hypernym for twins and triplets and quadruplets. For example, if you have nieces and nephews that you have to refer to a lot, you might have already discovered the incredibly practical and easy to intuit word "nibling," apparently coined on this side of the last century. We have a few contenders:

First of all, particularly in this context, the word "littermate" is a godsend, but I don't think the joke in "The 'actual evil' coefficient drops sharply after the third littermate" really parses at all. We could also backform something. I took the "ump" from the word "umpteen" and made "umplet," which I think is delightful, but strictly speaking is a germanic prefix and a romance suffix so we might be able to do better. I think the native English formation for triplet would be "threeling" which is very cute but doesn't get us any closer unless you accept "umpling" as a word which... I can't decide whether that's cute or ugly. We could also just accept that the invented meaning of twin is clear in contexts like this but then how would I spend my Friday nights.

So! Anyone have any ideas? Do we have any people in the medical or midwifery business and know whether there's a technical term? I really hope it's not n-plet. Does anyone know of a non-english language that has a general word for siblings born from the same pregnancy? Are there any other similar perils you've run into when trying to speak this demonic language?

(@Mod, is this the sort of thing that would be more suited for being posted in the chat thread? I'm not sure how one would make that judgement call)
ALL his memories

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