- formally precise or proper, as persons or behavior; stiffly neat.
- to draw up the mouth in an affectedly nice or precise way.
- to make prim, as in appearance.
- to draw (one's face, lips, etc.) into a prim expression.
Origin of prim1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for primly
"I am sure you will find that pleasant," said Mary Isabel primly.Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1907 to 1908
Lucy Maud Montgomery
"I don't think you ought to talk that way before ladies," he said, primly.
"My husband wouldn't be happy without me," she said, primly.
"Your master would like some tea," she said, primly, as Bella appeared.At Sunwich Port, Complete
"It has nothing to do with the secret proceedings of your 'frat'," said Dora, primly.Ramsey Milholland
- affectedly proper, precise, or formal
- (tr) to make prim
- to purse (the mouth) primly or (of the mouth) to be so pursed
Word Origin and History for primly
1680s (v.) "to assume a formal, precise demeanor," perhaps from French prim "thin, small, delicate," from Old French prim "fine, delicate," from Latin primus "finest," literally "first" (see prime (adj.)). Later, "deck out, dress to effect" (1721). Attested as a noun from 1700. The adjective, the sole surviving sense, is from 1709. A cant word at first. Related: Primly; primness.