I. adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin primarius basic, primary, from Latin, principal, from primus Date: 15th century 1. first in order of time or development ; primitive <
the primary stage of civilization
the primary lesion of a disease
2. a. of first rank, importance, or value ; principal <
the primary purpose
b. basic, fundamental <
security is a primary need
c. of, relating to, or constituting the principal quills of a bird's wing d. of or relating to agriculture, forestry, and the extractive industries or their products e. expressive of present or future time <
primary tense
f. of, relating to, or constituting the strongest of the three or four degrees of stress recognized by most linguists <
the first syllable of basketball carries primary stress
3. a. direct, firsthand <
primary sources of information
b. not derivable from other colors, odors, or tastes c. preparatory to something else in a continuing process <
primary instruction
d. of or relating to a primary school <
primary education
e. of or relating to a primary election <
a primary candidate
f. belonging to the first group or order in successive divisions, combinations, or ramifications <
primary nerves
g. directly derived from ores <
primary metals
h. of, relating to, or being the amino acid sequence in proteins <
primary protein structure
4. resulting from the substitution of one of two or more atoms or groups in a molecule <
a primary amine
; especially being or characterized by a carbon atom having a bond to only one other carbon atom 5. of, relating to, involving, or derived from primary meristem <
primary tissue
primary growth
6. of, relating to, or involved in the production of organic substances by green plants <
primary productivity
7. providing primary care <
a primary physician
II. noun (plural -ries) Date: 1656 1. something that stands first in rank, importance, or value ; fundamental — usually used in plural 2. the celestial body around which one or more other celestial bodies revolve; especially the more massive usually brighter component of a binary star system 3. one of the usually 9 or 10 strong quills on the distal joint of a bird's wing — see wing illustration 4. a. primary color b. the sensation of seeing primary colors 5. a. caucus b. an election in which qualified voters nominate or express a preference for a particular candidate or group of candidates for political office, choose party officials, or select delegates for a party convention 6. the coil that is connected to the source of electricity in an induction coil or transformer — called also primary coil

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Primary — Pri ma*ry, a. [L. primarius, fr. primus first: cf. F. primaire. See {Prime}, a., and cf. {Premier}, {Primero}.] 1. First in order of time or development or in intention; primitive; fundamental; original. [1913 Webster] The church of Christ, in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • primary — pri·ma·ry 1 / prī ˌmer ē, mə rē/ adj 1: of first rank, value, or importance 2: belonging to the first group or order in successive divisions, combinations, or ramifications pri·mar·i·ly /prī mer ə lē/ adv primary 2 n pl …   Law dictionary

  • primary — primary, primal, primordial, primitive, pristine, primeval, prime mean first in some respect (as order, character, or importance). Something primary comes first in the order of development or of progression. Sometimes the term means little more… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Primary — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Primary» Sencillo de The Cure del álbum Faith Publicación 17 de marzo de 1981 (Reino Unido) Formato …   Wikipedia Español

  • primary — pri‧ma‧ry [ˈpraɪmri ǁ meri] adjective 1. main or most important: • Its primary business is developing and marketing new software. • The primary problem for the airlines is the recession. • It uses coal as its primary source of fuel. 2 …   Financial and business terms

  • primary — [prī′mer΄ē, prī′mə rē] adj. [ME prymary < L primarius < primus, first: see PRIME] 1. first in time or order of development; primitive; original; earliest 2. from which others are derived; fundamental; elemental; basic 3. designating colors… …   English World dictionary

  • Primary — Single par The Cure extrait de l’album Faith Face A Primary Face B Descent Sortie 17 mars 1981 Enregistrement …   Wikipédia en Français

  • primary — late 15c., of the first order, from L. primarius of the first rank, chief, principal, excellent, from primus first (see PRIME (Cf. prime) (adj.) ). Primary color is first recorded 1610s; primary school is 1802, from Fr. école primaire. The Paris… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Primary — Pri ma*ry, n.; pl. {Primaries}. 1. That which stands first in order, rank, or importance; a chief matter. [1913 Webster] 2. A primary meeting; a caucus. [1913 Webster] 3. (Zo[ o]l.) One of the large feathers on the distal joint of a bird s wing.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • primary — / prime [adj1] best, principal capital, cardinal, chief, crackerjack*, dominant, excellent, fab*, first, first class*, greatest, heavy, highest, hot*, leading, main, number one*, paramount, primo*, state of the art*, stellar, top, top of the… …   New thesaurus

  • primary — primary/secondary qualities …   Philosophy dictionary

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