Prime number
Prime Prime, a. [F., fr. L. primus first, a superl. corresponding to the compar. prior former. See {Prior}, a., {Foremost}, {Former}, and cf. {Prim}, a., {Primary}, {Prince}.] 1. First in order of time; original; primeval; primitive; primary. ``Prime forests.'' --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

She was not the prime cause, but I myself. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Note: In this sense the word is nearly superseded by primitive, except in the phrase prime cost. [1913 Webster]

2. First in rank, degree, dignity, authority, or importance; as, prime minister. ``Prime virtues.'' --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

3. First in excellence; of highest quality; as, prime wheat; a prime quality of cloth. [1913 Webster]

4. Early; blooming; being in the first stage. [Poetic] [1913 Webster]

His starry helm, unbuckled, showed him prime In manhood where youth ended. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

5. Lecherous; lustful; lewd. [Obs.] --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. Marked or distinguished by a mark (') called a prime mark. [1913 Webster]

7. (Math.) (a) Divisible by no number except itself or unity; as, 7 is a prime number. (b) Having no common factor; -- used with to; as, 12 is prime to 25. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

{Prime and ultimate ratio}. (Math.). See {Ultimate}.

{Prime conductor}. (Elec.) See under {Conductor}.

{Prime factor} (Arith.), a factor which is a prime number.

{Prime figure} (Geom.), a figure which can not be divided into any other figure more simple than itself, as a triangle, a pyramid, etc.

{Prime meridian} (Astron.), the meridian from which longitude is reckoned, as the meridian of Greenwich or Washington.

{Prime minister}, the responsible head of a ministry or executive government; applied particularly to that of England.

{Prime mover}. (Mech.) (a) A natural agency applied by man to the production of power. Especially: Muscular force; the weight and motion of fluids, as water and air; heat obtained by chemical combination, and applied to produce changes in the volume and pressure of steam, air, or other fluids; and electricity, obtained by chemical action, and applied to produce alternation of magnetic force. (b) An engine, or machine, the object of which is to receive and modify force and motion as supplied by some natural source, and apply them to drive other machines; as a water wheel, a water-pressure engine, a steam engine, a hot-air engine, etc. (c) Fig.: The original or the most effective force in any undertaking or work; as, Clarkson was the prime mover in English antislavery agitation.

{Prime number} (Arith.), a number which is exactly divisible by no number except itself or unity, as 5, 7, 11.

{Prime vertical} (Astron.), the vertical circle which passes through the east and west points of the horizon.

{Prime-vertical dial}, a dial in which the shadow is projected on the plane of the prime vertical.

{Prime-vertical transit instrument}, a transit instrument the telescope of which revolves in the plane of the prime vertical, -- used for observing the transit of stars over this circle. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prime number — Prime redirects here. For other uses, see Prime (disambiguation). A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is… …   Wikipedia

  • prime number — prime numbers N COUNT In mathematics, a prime number is a whole number greater than 1 that cannot be divided exactly by any whole number except itself and the number 1, for example 17 …   English dictionary

  • prime number — n a number that can be divided only by itself and the number one. For example, three and seven are prime numbers …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • prime number — n. an integer that can be evenly divided by no other whole number than itself or 1, as 2, 3, 5, or 7: distinguished from COMPOSITE NUMBER …   English World dictionary

  • prime number — noun count a number that can only be divided exactly by itself and one, for example seven …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • prime number — noun an integer that has no integral factors but itself and 1 • Hypernyms: ↑prime, ↑prime quantity * * * noun : an integer other than 0 or ±1 that is not divisible without remainder by any other integers except ±1 and ± the integer itself * * *… …   Useful english dictionary

  • prime number — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms prime number : singular prime number plural prime numbers maths a number that can only be divided exactly by itself and the number 1, for example 7 …   English dictionary

  • prime number — Math. a positive integer that is not divisible without remainder by any integer except itself and 1, with 1 often excluded: The integers 2, 3, 5, and 7 are prime numbers. Also called prime. [1585 95] * * * Any positive integer greater than 1 and… …   Universalium

  • prime number — /ˈpraɪm nʌmbə/ (say pruym numbuh) noun a positive integer not exactly divisible by any integer except itself and unity: 5 is a prime number …   Australian English dictionary

  • prime number — prime′ num′ber n. math. a positive integer that is not divisible without remainder by any integer except itself and 1 • Etymology: 1585–95 …   From formal English to slang

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