Meaning of PRIME in English


I. ˈprīm noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English prīm, from Latin prima ( hora ) first hour, from prima, feminine of primus first + hora hour — more at hour


a. often capitalized : a religious office constituting the first of the daytime canonical hours — compare laud , matins

b. : the first hour of the day usually considered either as 6 a.m. or the hour of sunrise


a. : the beginning or earliest stage of something : the first part or age

saurians of the prime — Henry Adams

b. : spring

the prime of the year

c. : the spring of life : youth

in her prime , pretty as a lamb, a laughing girl — A.E.Coppard


a. : the most active, thriving, or successful stage of something

patent medicines were in their prime — Thérèse S. Westermeier

the prime of his musical career — Terry de Valera

b. : the period of greatest vigor and productivity in a person's life

these two home-run sluggers, who were tremendous crowd pullers in their prime — Collier's Year Book


a. : the chief or best individual of a group

prime of the flock, and choicest of the stall — Alexander Pope

b. : the best part of something

give him always of the prime — Jonathan Swift

c. : an export grade of yellow pine lumber of very high quality that is free from defects and largely heartwood

d. : sheet metal products of the highest commercial quality

5. : prime number


a. : primero

b. : the second-highest hand in primero and related games consisting of one card of each suit

c. : a block in backgammon formed by a series of six closed points

7. : a parry in fencing defending the upper inside target in which the hand is to the left at head height in a position of pronation with the point of the blade directed downward and the forearm is across the body parallel to the ground — called also first ; compare quarte


a. : the first note or tone of a musical scale : tonic

b. : a tone represented by the same staff degree as a given tone

c. : the pitch relation between two such musical notes or tones or their simultaneous combination

d. : prime tone

9. : a symbol or accent ′ suffixed in writing or printing to distinguish one character from a related character (as a ′ from a or from a ″), to indicate a relative unit (as a minute of angle or a foot), or to differentiate a mathematical function — compare double prime

II. adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, feminine of prin prime, from Latin primus; akin to Latin prior former, prior — more at prior


a. : first in order of time : original , primitive

high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation — A.E.Housman

b. : having the vigor and freshness of youth : youthful

our manhood's prime vigor — Robert Browning



(1) : of, relating to, or constituting a prime number

(2) : having no common integral divisor greater than 1

12 is prime to 25

12 and 25 are relatively prime


(1) of a polynomial : not factorable

(2) : having no common polynomial divisors with coefficients in the same field other than constants

these two polynomials are relatively prime

3. obsolete : lecherous , lustful

as prime as goats — Shakespeare


a. : first in rank or authority : chief , leading

made you the prime man of the state — Shakespeare

b. : first in significance or urgency : principal

a prime requisite

a prime example

a prime need


(1) : first in excellence or importance : having the highest quality or value

a prime new plow — M.A.Hancock

prime farming land — J.D.Adams

a prime fish

prime television time

(2) : of the highest grade — used of meat, especially beef; compare choice , commercial , good 1f(5)

(3) : being in the best condition — used especially of fur skins and hides

when the deer hides are prime — Farley Mowat

d. : having the highest credit rating

prime borrowers

prime commercial loans

5. : not deriving from something else : primary

the prime postulate of his philosophy

III. adverb

Etymology: prime (II)

: primely

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: probably from prime (I)

transitive verb

1. : fill , load

primed the lamp with oil

came to these encounters well primed with wine — J.B.Cabell

2. : to prepare for firing by supplying with priming or a primer

prime a cannon

prime a mine


a. : to lay the first color, coating, or preparation upon

primed the wall with white paint

an undercoater for sealing and priming inside surfaces — Wall Street Journal

b. archaic : to put cosmetics on : make up

every morning primes her face — John Oldham

4. : to put into working order by filling or charging with something: as

a. : to pour water into the barrel or bucket of (a pump)

b. : to pour gasoline into the carburetor of (an engine)

c. : to impart a charge of static electricity to one armature of (an induction electric machine)


a. : to instruct beforehand : coach

primed the witness

b. : to make ready : prepare

keeping their eyes primed, their cameras ready — Barbara B. Jamison

a livestock dipping vat was primed with a fresh solution — F.B.Gipson

6. : to harvest (tobacco) by picking the leaves a few at a time as they ripen

7. : stimulate

loses money in attempting to prime the sugarcane industry — Sidney Shalett

intransitive verb

1. archaic : to assume precedence : domineer

2. : to operate so that steam is liberated in small portions with the result that fine water particles are entrained with and carried over by steam

3. : to have a shortened tide day

4. : to become prime

the hides were priming towards winter, heavy and well-furred — Mari Sandox

- prime the pump

V. noun

( -s )

: the priming of a gun

VI. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: origin unknown

of a fish : to leap from the water

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.