From Latin primus ‎(the first); related to prior, the comparative form. Partially cognate to foremost, from Proto-Indo-European.


primus ‎(plural primuses)

  1. One of the bishops of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, who presides at the meetings of the bishops, and has certain privileges but no metropolitan authority.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Internat. Cyc to this entry?)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


Latin ordinal numbers
1st 2nd  > 
    Cardinal : unus
    Ordinal : prīmus
    Adverbial : semel
    Multiplier : simplex
    Distributive : singulī


Earlier prīsmos < *prīsemos < Proto-Italic *priisemos, a superlative form of obsolete preposition *pri/ *prei, related to prae ‎(before) (see -issimus for superlative). Compare prior ‎(earlier, in front), the corresponding comparative.



prīmus m ‎(feminine prīma, neuter prīmum); first/second declension

  1. (ordinal) first

Usage notesEdit

  • Prīmus is the superlative degree of an adjective with only comparative (prior, prior, prius) and superlative degrees and no positive degree. It stems from the preposition prae. In the same way for post, one has posterior and postremus.


First/second declension.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
nominative prīmus prīma prīmum prīmī prīmae prīma
genitive prīmī prīmae prīmī prīmōrum prīmārum prīmōrum
dative prīmō prīmō prīmīs
accusative prīmum prīmam prīmum prīmōs prīmās prīma
ablative prīmō prīmā prīmō prīmīs
vocative prīme prīma prīmum prīmī prīmae prīma

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit


  • De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, page 488
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