Nearby words

  1. primatial,
  2. primatical,
  3. primatology,
  4. primavera,
  5. primaveral,
  6. prime cost,
  7. prime field,
  8. prime focus,
  9. prime ideal,
  10. prime interest rate

Origin of prime

before 1000; 1910–15 for def 5; (adj.) Middle English (< Old French prim) < Latin prīmus first (superlative corresponding to prior prior1); (noun) in part derivative of the adj.; in part continuing Middle English prim(e) first canonical hour, Old English prim < Latin prīma (hōra) first (hour); (v.) apparently derivative of the adj.

SYNONYMS FOR prime
1. primary. 7. Prime, primeval, primitive have reference to that which is first. Prime means first in numerical order or order of development: prime meridian; prime cause. Primeval means belonging to the first or earliest ages: the primeval forest. Primitive suggests the characteristics of the origins or early stages of a development, and hence implies the simplicity of original things: primitive tribes, conditions, ornaments, customs, tools.

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prime


British Dictionary definitions for prime

prime

adjective

(prenominal) first in quality or value; first-rate
(prenominal) fundamental; original
(prenominal) first in importance, authority, etc; chief
maths
  1. having no factors except itself or onex² + x + 3 is a prime polynomial
  2. (foll by to)having no common factors (with)20 is prime to 21
finance having the best credit ratingprime investments

noun

the time when a thing is at its best
a period of power, vigour, etc, usually following youth (esp in the phrase the prime of life)
the beginning of something, such as the spring
maths short for prime number
linguistics a semantically indivisible element; minimal component of the sense of a word
music
  1. unison
  2. the tonic of a scale
mainly RC Church the second of the seven canonical hours of the divine office, originally fixed for the first hour of the day, at sunrise
the first of eight basic positions from which a parry or attack can be made in fencing

verb

to prepare (something); make ready
(tr) to apply a primer, such as paint or size, to (a surface)
(tr) to fill (a pump) with its working fluid before starting, in order to improve the sealing of the pump elements and to expel air from it before starting
(tr) to increase the quantity of fuel in the float chamber of (a carburettor) in order to facilitate the starting of an engine
(tr) to insert a primer into (a gun, mine, charge, etc) preparatory to detonation or firing
(intr) (of a steam engine or boiler) to operate with or produce steam mixed with large amounts of water
(tr) to provide with facts, information, etc, beforehand; brief
Derived Formsprimely, adverbprimeness, noun

Word Origin for prime

(adj) C14: from Latin prīmus first; (n) C13: from Latin prīma (hora) the first (hour); (vb) C16: of uncertain origin, probably connected with n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for prime
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with prime

prime

In addition to the idioms beginning with prime

  • prime mover
  • prime of life
  • prime the pump

also see:

  • past one's prime
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.