See also: Prime, primé, and přímé

English edit

Etymology 1 edit

Borrowed from French prime, from Latin primus (first), from earlier prīsmos < *prīsemos < Proto-Italic *priisemos, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *per- (beyond, before). Doublet of primo.

The noun sense "apostrophe-like symbol" originates from the fact that the symbol was originally a superscript Roman numeral one.

Pronunciation edit

  • enPR: prīm, IPA(key): /pɹaɪ̯m/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: prime
  • Rhymes: -aɪm

Adjective edit

prime (comparative primer, superlative primest)

  1. First in importance, degree, or rank.
    Synonyms: greatest, main, most important, primary, principal, top
    Our prime concern here is to keep the community safe.
  2. First in time, order, or sequence.
    Synonyms: earliest, first, original
    Both the English and French governments established prime meridians in their capitals.
  3. First in excellence, quality, or value.
    Synonyms: excellent, top quality
    This is a prime location for a bookstore.
    • 1820, Thomas Moore, W. Simpkin, R. Marshall, Jack Randall's Diary of Proceedings at the House of Call for Genius:
      Gemmen (says he), you all well know / The joy there is whene'er we meet; / It's what I call the primest go, / And rightly named, 'tis—'quite a treat,' []
    • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, “The Child of the Marshalsea”, in Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1857, →OCLC, book the first (Poverty), page 50:
      "Is it very pleasant to be there, Bob?" / "Prime," said the turnkey.
    • 1861, Isabella Beeton, Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management:
      Average cost, 10d. to 18. per lb. for the primest parts.
  4. (mathematics, lay) Having exactly two integral factors: itself and unity (1 in the case of integers).
    Thirteen is a prime number.
  5. (mathematics, technical) Such that if it divides a product, it divides one of the multiplicands.
  6. (mathematics) Having its complement closed under multiplication: said only of ideals.
  7. Marked or distinguished by the prime symbol.
  8. Early; blooming; being in the first stage.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 245–248:
      [...] His ſtarrie Helme unbuckl’d ſhew’d him prime / In Manhood where Youth ended ; by his ſide / As in a glittering Zodiac hung the Sword, / Satans dire dread, and in his hand the Spear.
  9. (obsolete) Lecherous, lewd, lustful.
Synonyms edit
Hyponyms edit
Derived terms edit
Translations edit

Noun edit

prime (plural primes)

  1. (historical) The first hour of daylight; the first canonical hour.
  2. (Christianity) The religious service appointed to this hour.
  3. (obsolete) The early morning generally.
  4. (now rare) The earliest stage of something.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, edited by J[ohn] S[penser], Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, [], 3rd edition, London: [] Will[iam] Stansby [for Matthew Lownes], published 1611, →OCLC, book II, page 69:
      To this end we see how quickly sundry artes Mechanical were found out in the very prime of the world.
    • 1645, Edmund Waller, “To a very young Lady” (earlier title: “To my young Lady Lucy Sidney”) in Poems, &c. Written upon Several Occasions, and to Several Persons, London: H. Herringman, 1686, p. 101,[1]
      Hope waits upon the flowry prime,
  5. The most active, thriving, or successful stage or period.
  6. The chief or best individual or part.
    • 1726, Jonathan Swift, “To a Lady, who desired the author to write some verses upon her in the heroic style” in The Works of Dr. Jonathan Swift, London: W. Bowyer et al., Volume 7, p. 396,[4]
      Give no more to ev’ry guest
      Than he’s able to digest:
      Give him always of the prime;
      And but a little at a time.
  7. Something which is first in importance or rank: a prime defense company, mortgage lender, etc.
    • 1966, United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Small Business, Hearings, Reports and Prints of the House Select Committee on Small Business, page 60:
      I found just as we were fearful we would find that many of the big primes felt that this was a change of policy on the part of the U.S. Government to let the big fellows take care of it, and they were ready to cut back, and in many instances were cutting back []
    • 2023 December 4, Can Palmer Luckey Reinvent the U.S. Defense Industry? - WSJ, The Wall Street Journal:
      The large primes are struggling to do things the way Anduril does, because they're publicly traded companies with an existing investor class that invested in them to be a certain type of company.
  8. (music) The first note or tone of a musical scale.
  9. (fencing) The first defensive position, with the sword hand held at head height, and the tip of the sword at head height.
  10. (algebra, number theory) A prime element of a mathematical structure, particularly a prime number.
    • 2013 July-August, Sarah Glaz, “Ode to Prime Numbers”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Some poems, echoing the purpose of early poetic treatises on scientific principles, attempt to elucidate the mathematical concepts that underlie prime numbers. Others play with primes’ cultural associations. Still others derive their structure from mathematical patterns involving primes.
    3 is a prime.
  11. (card games) A four-card hand containing one card of each suit in the game of primero; the opposite of a flush in poker.
  12. (backgammon) Six consecutive blocks, which prevent the opponent's pieces from passing.
    I'm threatening to build a prime here.
  13. The symbol used to indicate feet, minutes, derivation and other measures and mathematical operations.
  14. (chemistry, obsolete) Any number expressing the combining weight or equivalent of any particular element; so called because these numbers were respectively reduced to their lowest relative terms on the fixed standard of hydrogen as 1.
  15. An inch, as composed of twelve seconds in the duodecimal system.
  16. (obsolete) The priming in a flintlock.
    • 1743, Robert Drury, The Pleasant, and Surprizing Adventures of Mr. Robert Drury, during his Fifteen Years Captivity on the Island of Madagascar[5], London, pages 95–96:
      [] he pull’d the Trigger, but Providence being pleas’d to preserve me for some other Purpose, the Cock snapp’d, and miss’d Fire. Whether the Prime was wet in the Pan, or by what other Miracle it was I escap’d his Fury, I cannot say []
  17. (film) Contraction of prime lens, a film lens.
    • Tomlinson, Shawn M. (2015) Going Pro for $200 & How to Choose a Prime Lens, →ISBN: “By the time I shifted to my first autofocus film SLR with the Pentax PZ-10, primes were considered things of the past”
  18. A feather, from the wing of the cock ostrich, that is of the palest possible shade.
  19. (psychology) A stimulus which causes priming.
Synonyms edit
Antonyms edit
  • (algebra: prime element of a mathematical structure): composite
Hyponyms edit
(number theory) Prime element of a mathematical structure, particularly a prime number
Derived terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2 edit

Related to primage and primus.

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

prime (third-person singular simple present primes, present participle priming, simple past and past participle primed)

  1. (transitive) To fill or prepare the chamber of a mechanism for its main work.
    You'll have to press this button twice to prime the fuel pump.
  2. (transitive) To apply a coat of primer paint to.
    I need to prime these handrails before we can apply the finish coat.
  3. (obsolete, intransitive) To be renewed.
    • 1634, Francis Quarles, “My Soule Hath Desired Thee in the Night”, in Emblemes, London: G. M., published 1635, book III, page 129:
      Nights baſhfull Empreſſe, though ſhe often wayne, / As oft repents her darkneſſe ; primes againe ; / And with her circling Hornes does re-embrace / Her brothers wealth, and orbs her ſilver face.
  4. (intransitive) To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.
  5. (intransitive, of a steam boiler) To work so that foaming occurs from too violent ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and be carried along with, the steam that is formed.
    • 1959 April, P. Ransome-Wallis, “The Southern in Trouble on the Kent Coast”, in Trains Illustrated, London: Ian Allan Publishing, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 220:
      Although we took our eight bogies along to Whitstable at 60 m.p.h., and made a clean start from there, after Herne Bay the engine primed badly on Blacksole Bank and nearly stopped before we got over the top. Then we ran like the wind across the marshes with half-regulator, 30 per cent cut-off, and the engine blowing off.
  6. To apply priming to (a musket or cannon); to apply a primer to (a metallic cartridge).
  7. To prepare; to make ready.
    The boys are primed for mischief.
  8. (archaic) To instruct beforehand, as for an examination; to coach.
    to prime a witness
  9. (UK, dialect, obsolete) To trim or prune.
    to prime trees
  10. (mathematics) To mark with a prime mark.
Synonyms edit
Derived terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 3 edit

From French prime (reward, prize, bonus).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

prime (plural primes)

  1. (cycling) An intermediate sprint within a race, usually offering a prize and/or points.
    • 1997, Arnie Baker, Smart Cycling: Successful Training and Racing for Riders of All Levels:
      Most primes are won with gaps on the field; most sprints are in bunches.
Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Anagrams edit

Albanian edit

Etymology edit

From proj (to guard, defend).[1]

Noun edit

prime f pl (definite plural primet)

  1. remedies

Related terms edit

References edit

  1. ^ Orel, Vladimir E. (1998), “prime”, in Albanian Etymological Dictionary, Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill, →ISBN, page 345

French edit

Etymology edit

From the feminine of Old French prim, prin, from Latin prīmus.

Noun from English premium.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

prime (plural primes)

  1. (obsolete outside of set phrases) first
    Synonym: premier
    de prime abordat first glance
    prime jeunessefirst flush of youth

Related terms edit

Noun edit

prime f (plural primes)

  1. reward; prize; bonus
  2. premium (insurance policy)

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Ottoman Turkish: ⁧پریم(prim)

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit

Interlingua edit

Adjective edit

prime

  1. first

Italian edit

Adjective edit

prime

  1. feminine plural of primo

Anagrams edit

Latin edit

Numeral edit

prīme

  1. vocative masculine singular of prīmus

References edit

  • prime”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • prime in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette

Portuguese edit

Verb edit

prime

  1. inflection of premir:
    1. third-person singular present indicative
    2. second-person singular imperative

Romanian edit

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

prime

  1. nominative/accusative feminine/neuter plural of prim

Serbo-Croatian edit

Verb edit

prime (Cyrillic spelling приме)

  1. third-person plural present of primiti

Spanish edit

Verb edit

prime

  1. inflection of premir:
    1. third-person singular present indicative
    2. second-person singular imperative
  2. inflection of primar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative

Tarantino edit

Adjective edit

prime

  1. first