Etymology: Middle English primitif, from Latin primitivus first formed, from primitiae first fruits, from primus first — more at prime
Date: 14th century
a. not derived ; original, primary
b. assumed as a basis; especially axiomatic <primitive concepts> 2. a. of or relating to the earliest age or period ; primeval <the primitive church> b. closely approximating an early ancestral type ; little evolved <primitive mammals> c. belonging to or characteristic of an early stage of development ; crude, rudimentary <primitive technology> d. of, relating to, or constituting the assumed parent speech of related languages <primitive Germanic> 3. a. elemental, natural <our primitive feelings of vengeance — John Mackwood> b. of, relating to, or produced by a people or culture that is nonindustrial and often nonliterate and tribal <primitive art> c. naive d. (1) self-taught, untutored <primitive craftsmen> (2) produced by a self-taught artist <a primitive painting> • primitively adverb • primitiveness noun • primitivity noun II. noun Date: 15th century 1. a. something primitive; specifically a primitive idea, term, or proposition b. a root word 2. a. (1) an artist of an early period of a culture or artistic movement (2) a later imitator or follower of such an artist b. (1) a self-taught artist (2) an artist whose work is marked by directness and naïveté c. a work of art produced by a primitive artist d. a typically rough or simple usually handmade and antique home accessory or furnishing 3. a. a member of a primitive people b. an unsophisticated person
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.