[pree-moh; for 1, 2 also Italian pree-maw]

noun, plural pri·mos, pri·mi [pree-mee Italian pree-mee] /ˈpri mi Italian ˈpri mi/. Music.

the part of a piano duet played on the upper half of the keyboard.
the first or leading part in an ensemble.


  1. first-class: dinner at a primo restaurant.
  2. highly valuable or most essential: the primo player on the team.

Origin of primo

1785–95; < Italian: literally, first < Latin prīmus. See prime

loco primo citato

[loh-koh pree-moh ki-tah-toh; English loh-koh prahy-moh sahy-tey-toh, pree-moh si-tah-toh]

adverb Latin. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for primo

Contemporary Examples of primo

Historical Examples of primo

  • What matters it, then, if ours is called the Fourth Class and theirs the Primo.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Primo de Rivero then explained his position, which was curious.

    Romantic Spain

    John Augustus O'Shea

  • The primo sargentos were abolished, the officers reinstated.

    Spanish Life in Town and Country

    L. Higgin and Eugne E. Street

  • Primo, let us make sure she is a witch—secundo, let us take her to the Abbey.

    The Lancashire Witches

    William Harrison Ainsworth

  • Why should she think of me—or of anybody else, except the primo tenore, who was singing with her?

    A Siren

    Thomas Adolphus Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for primo


noun plural -mos or -mi (-mɪ)

music the upper or right-hand part in a piano duetCompare secondo
Also: primo tempo at the same speed as at the beginning of the piece

Word Origin for primo

Italian: first, from Latin prīmus
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 primo

1740, in music terms, from Italian primo "first, chief," from Latin primus (see prime (adj.)). As slang for "excellent, first-class," perhaps an elaboration of prime. Of drugs, by 1990s, street slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper