He came to Knaresdean yesterday to communicate the news, and his neckcloth was primmer than ever.
She was sewing as for dear life, and her face was primmer and colder than ever.
For hornbook and primmer for Jenkins' girle to learn to read, 6d.
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.