Dictionary: PRI'ER – PRI-MAL'I-TY

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PRI'ER, n. [from pry.]

One who inquires narrowly; one who searches and scrutinizes.

PRIEST, n. [Sax. preost; D. and G. priester; Dan. præst; Fr. prêtre; It. prete; from L. præstes, a chief, one that presides; præ, before, and sto, to stand, or sisto, or Gr. ἱστημι; or contracted from presbyter. In Persic, پَرَسْتَشْ parastash is worship; پَرَسْتيِدَنْ parastidan, to worship, to adore.]

  1. A man who officiates in sacred offices. Among pagans, priests were persons whose appropriate business was to offer sacrifices and perform other sacred rites of religion. In primitive ages, the fathers of families, princes and kings were priests. Thus Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedeck, Job, Isaac and Jacob offered their own sacrifices. In the days of Moses, the office of priest was restricted to the tribe of Levi, and the priesthood consisted of three orders, the high priest, the pests and the Levites, and the office was made hereditary in the family of Aaron. Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrificers for sins. – Heb. v.
  2. In the modern church, a person who is set apart or consecrated to the ministry of the Gospel; a man in orders or licensed to preach the Gospel; a presbyter. In its most general sense, the word includes archbishops, bishops, patriarchs, and all subordinate orders of the clergy, duly approved and licensed according to the forms and rules of each respective denomination of Christians; as all these orders “are ordained for men in things pertaining to God.” But in Great Britain, the word is understood to denote the subordinate order of the clergy, above a deacon and below a bishop. In the United States, the word denotes any licensed minister of the Gospel.

PRIEST-CRAFT, n. [priest and craft.]

The stratagems and frauds of priests; fraud or imposition in religious concerns; management of selfish and ambitious priests to gain wealth and power, or to impose on the credulity of others. – Pope. Spectator.


A female among pagans, who officiated in sacred things. – Addison. Swift.


  1. The office or character of a priest. – Whitgifte.
  2. The order of men set apart for sacred offices; the order composed of priests. – Dryden.


Resembling a priest, or that which belongs to priests. – Shak.


The appearance and manner of a priest.


  1. Pertaining to a priest or to priests; sacerdotal; as, the priestly office.
  2. Becoming a priest; as, priestly sobriety and purity of life.

PRIEST-RID-DEN, a. [priest and ridden. See Ride.]

Managed or governed by priests. – Swift.

PRIEVE, v. [For Prove.]

– Spenser.

PRIG, n. [G. frech, bold, saucy, impudent.]

  1. A pert, conceited, saucy, pragmatical fellow. – Addison. Swift.
  2. A thief.

PRIG, v.i.

To haggle about the price of a commodity. [Obs.] – Ramsay's Poems.

PRIG, v.t.

To filch or steal.


Affected; coxcomical. – Brockett.


The manners of a prig. Ed. Rev.


A birt or turbot. Ainsworth.

PRIM, a. [Russ. primo, or priamo, in a right line, directly; priamei, straight, direct, true, just. See Prime.]

Properly, straight; erect; hence, formal; precise; affectedly nice. – Swift.

PRIM, n.

A plant, Privet, Ligustrum vulgare, a native of Europe, but naturalized in the United States; a shrub six or eight feet high.

PRIM, v.t.

To deck with great nicety; to form with affected preciseness.

PRI'MA-CY, a. [It. primazia; Fr. primatie; Sp. primacia; from L. primatas, from primus, first. See Prime.]

  1. The chief eccesiastical station or dignity; the office or dignity of an archbishop. – Clarendon.
  2. Excellency; supremacy. – Barrow.

PRIMA-DONNA, n. [Prima donna. It.]

The first female singer in an opera.

PRIMA-FACIE, adv. [Prima facie. L.]

At first view or appearance.


In commerce, a small duty payable to the master and mariners of a ship. – Encyc.

PRI'MAL, a. [See Prime.]

First. [Not in use.] – Shak.


State of being primal. – Barter.