Pronunciation Adjective

prime (not comparable)

  1. First in importance, degree, or rank#Noun|rank.
    Synonyms: greatest, main, most important, primary, principal, top
    Our prime concern here is to keep the community safe.
  2. First in time#Noun|time, order#Noun|order, or sequence#Noun|sequence.
    Synonyms: earliest, first, original
    Both the English and French governments established prime meridians in their capitals.
    • 1847, Alfred Tennyson, The Princess: A Medley, London: Edward Moxon, […], OCLC 2024748 ↗, part III, page 52 ↗:
      Better to clear prime forests, heave and thump / A league of street in summer solstice down, / Than hammer at this reverend gentlewoman.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, […]”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗, page 21 ↗:
      I thought it lawful from my forme act, / And the ſame end ; ſtill watching to oppreſs / Iſrael’s oppreſſours : of what now I ſuffer / She was not the prime cauſe, but I my ſelf, / Who vanquiſht with a peal of words (O weakneſs !) / Gave up my fort of ſilence to a Woman.
  3. First in excellence, quality, or value#Noun|value.
    Synonyms: excellent, top quality
    This is a prime location for a bookstore.
    • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, “The Child of the Marshalsea”, in Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, […], published 1857, OCLC 83401042 ↗, book the first (Poverty), page 50 ↗:
      "Is it very pleasant to be there, Bob?" / "Prime," said the turnkey.
  4. (mathematics, lay) Having exactly two integral factors: itself and unity (1 in the case of integers).
    Thirteen is a prime number.
  5. (mathematics, technical) Such that if it divides a product, it divides one of the multiplicands.
  6. (mathematics) Having its complement closed under multiplication: said only of ideals.
  7. Marked or distinguished by the prime symbol.
  8. Early; blooming; being in the first stage.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, lines 245–248:
      [...] His ſtarrie Helme unbuckl’d ſhew’d him prime / In Manhood where Youth ended ; by his ſide / As in a glittering Zodiac hung the Sword, / Satans dire dread, and in his hand the Spear.
  9. (obsolete) Lecherous, lewd, lustful.
    • c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, The Tragœdy of Othello, the Moore of Venice. […] (First Quarto), London: Printed by N[icholas] O[kes] for Thomas Walkley, […], published 1622, OCLC 724111485 ↗, [Act III, scene iii], page 53 ↗:
      It is impoſſible you ſhould ſee this, / Were they as prime as Goates, as hot as Monkies, / As ſalt as Wolues, in pride; and fooles as groſſe / As ignorance made drunke: [...]
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • French: de premier ordre, excellent
  • Italian: ottimo, (meat, cuts) di prima scelta, (foodstuffs) di prima qualità, (livestock) di prima categoria
  • Portuguese: de primeira
  • Russian: превосхо́дный
  • Spanish: primo, primoroso, excelente
Translations Translations Noun

prime (plural primes)

  1. (historical) The first hour of daylight; the first canonical hour.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 2, Canto 9, p. 314,
      His larum bell might lowd and wyde be hard,
      When cause requyrd, but neuer out of time;
      Early and late it rong, at euening and at prime.
  2. (Christianity) The religious service appointed to this hour.
  3. (obsolete) The early morning generally.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 1, Canto 6, p. 81,
      They all as glad, as birdes of ioyous Pryme […]
  4. (now rare) The earliest stage of something.
    • 1593, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie, London, 1604, Book 1, p. 69,
      To this end we see how quickly sundry artes Mechanical were found out in the very prime of the world.
    • 1645, Edmund Waller, “To a very young Lady” (earlier title: “To my young Lady Lucy Sidney”) in Poems, &c. Written upon Several Occasions, and to Several Persons, London: H. Herringman, 1686, p. 101,
      Hope waits upon the flowry prime,
  5. The most active, thriving, or successful stage or period.
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 12,
      When I do count the clock that tells the time,
      And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
      When I behold the violet past prime,
      And sable curls all silver’d o'er with white;
    • 1700, [John] Dryden, “Sigismonda and Guiscardo, from Boccace”, in Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 228732415 ↗, page 124 ↗:
      Short were her Marriage-Joys; for in the Prime, / Of Youth, her Lord expir’d before his time: {{...}
    • 1813, John Chetwode Eustace, A Tour through Italy, London: J. Mawman, Volume 1, Chapter 10, pp. 225-226,
      None but foreigners, excluded by their religion from the cemeteries of the country, are deposited here […] . The far greater part had been cut off in their prime, by unexpected disease or fatal accident.
    • 1965, Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone
      Once upon a time you dressed so fine. You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
  6. The chief or best individual or part.
    • 1726, Jonathan Swift, “To a Lady, who desired the author to write some verses upon her in the heroic style” in The Works of Dr. Jonathan Swift, London: W. Bowyer et al., Volume 7, p. 396,
      Give no more to ev’ry guest
      Than he’s able to digest:
      Give him always of the prime;
      And but a little at a time.
  7. (music) The first note or tone of a musical scale.
  8. (fencing) The first defensive position, with the sword hand held at head height, and the tip of the sword at head height.
  9. (algebra, number theory) A prime element of a mathematical structure, particularly a prime number.
    3 is a prime.
  10. (card games) A four-card hand containing one card of each suit in the game of primero; the opposite of a flush in poker.
  11. (backgammon) Six consecutive blocks, which prevent the opponent's pieces from passing.
    I'm threatening to build a prime here.
  12. The symbol ′ used to indicate feet, minutes, derivation and other measures and mathematical operations.
  13. (chemistry, obsolete) Any number expressing the combining weight or equivalent of any particular element; so called because these numbers were respectively reduced to their lowest relative terms on the fixed standard of hydrogen as 1.
  14. An inch, as composed of twelve seconds in the duodecimal system.
  15. (obsolete) The priming in a flintlock.
    • 1743, Robert Drury (sailor), The Pleasant, and Surprizing Adventures of Mr. Robert Drury, during his Fifteen Years Captivity on the Island of Madagascar, London, pp. 95–96,
      […] he pull’d the Trigger, but Providence being pleas’d to preserve me for some other Purpose, the Cock snapp’d, and miss’d Fire. Whether the Prime was wet in the Pan, or by what other Miracle it was I escap’d his Fury, I cannot say […]
  16. (film) Contraction of prime lens, a film lens
    • Tomlinson, Shawn M. (2015) Going Pro for $200 & How to Choose a Prime Lens, →ISBN: “By the time I shifted to my first autofocus film SLR with the Pentax PZ-10, primes were considered things of the past”
Synonyms Antonyms
  • (algebra: prime element of a mathematical structure) composite
Translations Translations
  • Italian: (professionally) all’apice, (physically) nel fiore degli anni
  • Portuguese: auge, ápice
  • Russian: расцве́т
  • Italian: tonale
Translations Pronunciation Verb

prime (primes, present participle priming; past and past participle primed)

  1. (transitive) To prepare a mechanism for its main work.
    You'll have to press this button twice to prime the fuel pump.
  2. (transitive) To apply a coat of primer paint to.
    I need to prime these handrails before we can apply the finish coat.
  3. (obsolete, intransitive) To be renewed.
  4. (intransitive) To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.
  5. (intransitive, of a steam boiler) To work so that foaming occurs from too violent ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and be carried along with, the steam that is formed.
  6. To apply priming to (a musket or cannon); to apply a primer to (a metallic cartridge).
  7. To prepare; to make ready; to instruct beforehand; to coach.
    to prime a witness
    The boys are primed for mischief.
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, “Dobbin of Ours”, in Vanity Fair. A Novel without a Hero, London: Bradbury and Evans, […], published 1848, OCLC 3174108 ↗, page 42 ↗:
      “He’s priming himself,” Osborne whispered to Dobbin, and at length the hour and the carriage arrived for Vauxhall.
  8. (UK, dialect, obsolete) To trim or prune.
    to prime trees
  9. (math) To mark with a prime mark.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Pronunciation Noun

prime (plural primes)

  1. (cycling) An intermediate sprint within a race, usually offering a prize and/or points.
    • 1997 Arnie Baker, Smart Cycling: Successful Training and Racing for Riders of All Levels
      Most primes are won with gaps on the field; most sprints are in bunches.

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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