/ ˈpraɪməri; NAmE -meri/ adjective , noun
[ usually before noun ] main; most important; basic
SYN prime :
The primary aim of this course is to improve your spoken English.
Our primary concern must be the children.
Good health care is of primary importance.
[ usually before noun ] developing or happening first; earliest :
The disease is still in its primary stage.
[ only before noun ] ( especially BrE ) connected with the education of children between the ages of about five and eleven :
—compare elementary , secondary , tertiary
( pl. -ies ) (also ˌprimary eˈlection ) (in the US) an election in which people in a particular area vote to choose a candidate for a future important election :
the Illinois primary
the presidential primaries
For more information see the Cultural Guide
late Middle English (in the sense original, not derivative ): from Latin primarius , from primus first. The noun uses date from the 18th cent.