• synonyms


adjective, prim·mer, prim·mest.
  1. formally precise or proper, as persons or behavior; stiffly neat.
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verb (used without object), primmed, prim·ming.
  1. to draw up the mouth in an affectedly nice or precise way.
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verb (used with object), primmed, prim·ming.
  1. to make prim, as in appearance.
  2. to draw (one's face, lips, etc.) into a prim expression.
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Origin of prim1

First recorded in 1675–85; origin uncertain
Related formsprim·ly, adverbprim·ness, nounun·primmed, adjective



Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for primmer

Historical Examples

  • For hornbook and primmer for Jenkins' girle to learn to read, 6d.

    Notes and Queries for Worcestershire

    John Noake

  • She was sewing as for dear life, and her face was primmer and colder than ever.

    Chronicles of Avonlea

    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  • He came to Knaresdean yesterday to communicate the news, and his neckcloth was primmer than ever.

British Dictionary definitions for primmer


adjective primmer or primmest
  1. affectedly proper, precise, or formal
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verb prims, primming or primmed
  1. (tr) to make prim
  2. to purse (the mouth) primly or (of the mouth) to be so pursed
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Derived Formsprimly, adverbprimness, noun

Word Origin

C18: of unknown origin
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 primmer


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper