Meaning of PRIMARY in English

I. ˈprī-ˌmer-ē, ˈprī-mə-rē, ˈprīm-rē 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


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


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


a. : primary color

b. : the sensation of seeing primary colors


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

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.