any plant of the genus Primula, as P. vulgaris (English primrose), of Europe, having yellow flowers, or P. sinensis (Chinese primrose), of China, having flowers in a variety of colors.Compare primrose family.
pale yellow.


of or relating to the primrose.
Also prim·rosed. abounding in primroses: a primrose garden.
of a pale yellow.

Origin of primrose

1375–1425; late Middle English primerose < Medieval Latin prīma rosa first rose




Archibald Philip, 5th Earl of Rosebery. Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for primrose

Historical Examples of primrose

  • Primrose is now almost a young lady, and, Eustace tells me, is just as saucy as ever.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • You are walking in the woods, and you find the first primrose of the year.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • And he saw no reason why she should not make even the tariff a primrose path.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • Drivin' a depot carriage was just a side issue with that Primrose blossom.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • They could be simple, as the wild rose and the primrose are simple.

British Dictionary definitions for primrose



any of various temperate primulaceous plants of the genus Primula, esp P. vulgaris of Europe, which has pale yellow flowers
Also called: primrose yellow a light to moderate yellow, sometimes with a greenish tinge


of, relating to, or abounding in primroses
of the colour primrose
pleasant or gay

Word Origin for primrose

C15: from Old French primerose, from Medieval Latin prīma rosa first rose
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 primrose

late 14c., prymrose, from Old French primerose, primerole (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin prima rosa, literally "first rose," so called because it blooms early in spring (see prime (adj.)). As the name of a pale yellow color, by 1844.

Parallel name primula (c.1100) is from Old French primerole, from Medieval Latin primula "primrose," shortened from primula veris "firstling of spring," thus properly fem. of Latin primulus, diminutive of primus; but primerole was used in Old French and Middle English of other flowers (cowslips, field daisies). The primrose path is from "Hamlet" I, iii.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper