Meaning of PRIME in English


I. ˈprīm noun

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

b. : spring

c. : youth

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


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


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


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

• prime·ly adverb

• prime·ness noun

III. verb

( primed ; prim·ing )

Etymology: probably from prime (I)

Date: 1513

transitive verb

1. : fill , load


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


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

- prime the pump

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