Etymology: Middle English, from Old English prīm, from Latin prima hora first hour
Date: before 12th century
a. often capitalized the second of the canonical hours
b. the first hour of the day usually considered either as 6 a.m. or the hour of sunrise
a. the earliest stage
3. the most active, thriving, or satisfying stage or period <in the prime of his life> 4. the chief or best individual or part ; pick <prime of the flock, and choicest of the stall — Alexander Pope> 5. prime number 6. a. the first note or tone of a musical scale ; tonic b. the interval between two notes on the same staff degree 7. the symbol ′ used to distinguish arbitrary characters (as a and a′), to indicate a specific unit (as feet or minutes of time or angular measure), or to indicate the derivative of a function (as p′ or f′(x)) — compare double prime 8. prime rate II. adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, feminine of prim first, from Latin primus; akin to Latin prior Date: 14th century 1. first in time ; original 2. a. of, relating to, or being a prime number — compare relatively prime b. having no polynomial factors other than itself and no monomial factors other than 1 <a prime polynomial> c. expressed as a product of prime factors (as prime numbers and prime polynomials) <a prime factorization> 3. a. first in rank, authority, or significance ; principal <a prime example> b. having the highest quality or value <prime farmland> c. of the highest grade regularly marketed — used of meat and especially beef 4. not deriving from something else ; primary • primely adverb • primeness noun III. verb (primed; priming) Etymology: probably from 1prime Date: 1513 transitive verb 1. fill, load 2. a. to prepare for firing by supplying with priming b. to insert a primer into (a cartridge case) 3. to apply the first color, coating, or preparation to <prime a wall> 4. a. to put into working order by filling or charging with something <prime a pump with water> b. to supply with an essential prerequisite (as a hormone, nucleic acid, or antigen) for chemical or biological activity <primed female mice with estrogen> 5. to instruct beforehand ; coach <primed the witness> 6. stimulate intransitive verb to become prime
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.