Dictionary: PRI'MA-RI-LY – PRIM-ING

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PRI'MA-RI-LY, adv. [from primary.]

In the first place; originally; in the first intention. The word emperor primarily signifies a general or military commander in chief. In diseases, the physician is to attend to the part primarily affected.


The state of being first in time, in act or intention. – Norris.

PRI'MA-RY, a. [L. primarius. See Prime.]

  1. First in order of time; original; as, the church of Christ in its primary institution. – Pearson. These I call original or primary qualities of body. – Locke.
  2. First in dignity, or importance; chief; principal. Our ancestors considered the education of youth of primary importance.
  3. Elemental; intended to teach youth the first rudiments; as, primary schools.
  4. Radical; original; as, the primary sense of a word.
  5. A stiff quill in the last joint of a bird's wing. Primary planets, are those which revolve about the sun, in distinction from the secondary planets, which revolve about the primary. Primary qualities of bodies, are such as are original and inseparable from them.

PRI'MATE, n. [It. primato; Fr. primat; Low L. primas. See Prime.]

The chief ecclesiastic in the church; an archbishop. – Encyc. Swift.


The office or dignity of an archbishop.


Pertaining to a primate. – D'Anville, Trans.


Pertaining to a primate. – Barrow.

PRIME, a. [L. primus; Sax. frum, Goth. frum, beginning, origin; Goth. frumist, first; Dan. frem, forward, straight on; fremmer, to forward or promote; Sw. fram, främja; W. priv, first; priviaw, to grow up, to increase, to prosper; Ir. priomh, first, and reamain, beginning. See Class Rm, No. 3, 7, 9.]

  1. First in order of time; original; as, prime fathers; prime creation. – Shak. In this sense, the use of the word is nearly superseded by primitive, except in the phrase, prime cost.
  2. First in rank, degree or dignity; as, prime minister.
  3. First in excellence; as, prime wheat; cloth of a prime quality. Humility and resignation are prime virtues. – Dryden.
  4. Early; blooming. His starry helm unbuckled, showed him prime / In manhood, where youth ended. – Milton.
  5. First in value or importance. Prime number, in arithmetic, a number which is divisible only by unity, as 5, 7, 11. – Encyc. Prime figure, in geometry, a figure which can not be divided into any other figure more simple than itself, as a triangle, a pyramid, &c.


  1. The first opening of day; the dawn; the morning. Early and late it rung, at evening and at prime. – Spenser. The sweet hour of prime. – Milton.
  2. The beginning; the early days. In the very prime of the world. – Hooker.
  3. The spring of the year. Hope waits upon the flowery prime. – Waller.
  4. The spring of life; youth; hence, full health, strength or beauty. That crop the golden prime of this sweet prince. – Shak. The prime of youth. – Dryden.
  5. The best part. Give him always of the prime. – Swift.
  6. The utmost perfection. The plants … would have been all in prime. – Woodward.
  7. In the Romish church, the first canonical hour, succeeding to lauds. – Encyc.
  8. In fencing, the first of the chief guards. – Encyc.
  9. In chimistry, primes are numbers employed, in conformity with the doctrine of definite proportions, to express the ratios in which bodies enter into combination. Primes duly arranged in a table, constitute a scale of chimical equivalents. They also express the ratios of the weights of atoms, according to the atomic theory. Prime of the moon, the new moon, when it first appears after the change. – Encyc. Prime vertical, the vertical circle which passes through the poles of the meridian, or the east and west points of the horizon. Dials projected on the plane of this circle, are called prime vertical or north and south dials. – Encyc.

PRIME, v.i.

To serve for the charge of a gun. – Beaum.

PRIME, v.t.

  1. To put powder in the pan of a musket or other fire-arm; or to lay a train of powder for communicating fire to a charge. – Encyc.
  2. To lay on the first color in painting. – Encyc.

PRIM-ED, pp.

Having powder in the pan; having the first color in painting.

PRIME-LY, adv.

  1. At first; originally; primarily. – South.
  2. Most excellently.


  1. The state of being first.
  2. Supreme excellence. [Little used in either sense.]


First; original. [Not in use.] Drayton.


  1. A small prayer-book for church service, or an office of the Virgin Mary.
  2. A small elementary book for teaching children to read.


In England, a fine due to the king on the writ or commencement of a suit by fine. – Blackstone.


A game at cards. [Sp.]

PRI-MER-SEI-ZIN, n. [prime and seizin.]

In feudal law, the right of the king, when a tenant in capite died seized of a knight's fee, to receive of the heir, if of full age, one year's profits of the land if in possession, and half a year's profits if the land was in reversion expectant on an estate for life; abolished by 12 Car. II. – Encyc.

PRI-ME'VAL, a. [L. primus, first, and ævum, age; primævus.]

Original; primitive; as, the primeval innocence of man; primeval day. – Blackmore.



PRI-MI-GE'NI-AL, a. [L. primigenius; primus, first, and genus, kind, or gignor, to beget.]

First born; original; primary. – Bp. Hall.

PRI-MIG'E-NOUS, a. [supra.]

First formed or generated; original; as, semi-primigenous strata. – Kirwan.

PRIM'INE, n. [L. primus.]

In botany, the outermost integument of an ovule; one of the sacs containing an ovule. – Lindley.


  1. The powder in the pan of a gun, or laid along the channel of a cannon for conveying fire to the charge.
  2. Among painters, the first color laid on canvas or on a building, &c.