Meaning of PRIMITIVE in English


I. ˈpri-mə-tiv adjective

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


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


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


(1) : self-taught , untutored

primitive craftsmen

(2) : produced by a self-taught artist

a primitive painting

• prim·i·tive·ly adverb

• prim·i·tive·ness noun

• prim·i·tiv·i·ty ˌpri-mə-ˈti-və-tē noun

II. noun

Date: 15th century


a. : something primitive ; specifically : a primitive idea, term, or proposition

b. : a root word



(1) : an artist of an early period of a culture or artistic movement

(2) : a later imitator or follower of such an artist


(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


a. : a member of a primitive people

b. : an unsophisticated person

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