• synonyms


  1. the powder or other material used to ignite a charge.
  2. the act of a person or thing that primes.
  3. material used as a primer, or a first coat or layer of paint, size, etc.
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Origin of priming

First recorded in 1590–1600; prime + -ing1
Related formsself-prim·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-priming

Historical Examples

  • The gun was self-priming and self-cocking; the powder charge was enclosed in a copper case.

    Life of Richard Trevithick, Volume II (of 2)

    Francis Trevithick

British Dictionary definitions for self-priming


  1. something used to prime
  2. a substance, used to ignite an explosive charge
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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 self-priming



"first coat of paint," c.1600, verbal noun from prime (v.). Meaning "gunpowder in the pan of a firearm" is from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper