- of or relating to a form from which a word or other linguistic form is derived; not derivative; original or radical.
- of or relating to a protolanguage.
- of or relating to a linguistic prime.
- rudimentary; primordial.
- noting species, varieties, etc., only slightly evolved from early antecedent types.
- of early formation and temporary, as a part that subsequently disappears.
- an artist of a preliterate culture.
- a naive or unschooled artist.
- an artist belonging to the early stage in the development of a style.
- a work of art by a primitive artist.
- a geometric or algebraic form or expression from which another is derived.
- a function of which the derivative is a given function.
Origin of primitive
Synonyms for primitive
- of, relating to, or resembling an early stage in the evolutionary development of a particular group of organismsprimitive amphibians
- another word for primordial (def. 3)
- an artist whose work does not conform to traditional, academic, or avant-garde standards of Western painting, such as a painter from an African or Oceanic civilization
- a painter of the pre-Renaissance era in European painting
- a painter of any era whose work appears childlike or untrainedAlso called (for senses 11a, 11c): naive
Word Origin for primitive
late 14c., "of an original cause; of a thing from which something is derived; not secondary" (a sense now associated with primary), from Old French primitif "very first, original" (14c.) and directly from Latin primitivus "first or earliest of its kind," from primitus "at first," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)).
Meaning "of or belonging to the first age" is from early 15c. Meaning "having the style of an early or ancient time" is from 1680s. In Christian sense of "adhering to the qualities of the early Church" it is recorded from 1680s. Of untrained artists from 1942. Related: Primitively.
c.1400, "original ancestor," from Latin primitivus (see primitive (adj.)). Meaning "aboriginal person in a land visited by Europeans" is from 1779, hence the sense "uncivilized person."