• (British) enPR: prīʹmə, IPA: /ˈpɹaɪ.mə(ɹ)/
  • (America) enPR: prĭmʹər, IPA: /ˈpɹɪ.mɚ/
  • (America, irregular, but common; borrowed from Etymology 2): enPR: prīmʹər, IPA: /ˈpɹaɪmɚ/

primer (plural primers)

  1. (historical, Catholic ecclesiastical) A prayer or devotional book intended for laity, initially an abridgment of the breviary and manual including the hours of the Virgin Mary, 15 gradual and 7 penitential psalms, the litany, the placebo and dirige forming the office of the dead, and the commendations.
  2. (historical, Protestant ecclesiastical) Similar works issued in England for private prayer in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer.
  3. A children's book intended to teach literacy: how to read, write, and spell.
    • 1545, The A.B.C. Primers
  4. An introductory text on any subject, particularly basic concepts.
  5. (New Zealand) An elementary school class; an elementary school student.
Synonyms Translations
  • Portuguese: livro de orações
Translations Translations Pronunciation
  • (British) enPR: prīʹmə, IPA: /ˈpɹaɪ.mə(ɹ)/
  • (America) enPR: prīmʹə, IPA: /ˈpɹaɪmɚ/


  1. Any substance or device, such as priming wire or blasting cap, used to ignite gunpowder or other explosive.
  2. (obsolete, rare) A person who primes explosives.
  3. A substance used to prime wood, metal, etc. in preparation for painting.
  4. A layer of such a substance.
  5. A layer of makeup that goes beneath the foundation; undermakeup.
  6. (obsolete, rare) A person who primes wood, metal, etc.
  7. (biochemistry) A molecule which initiates the synthesis of an enzyme, (especially) a single-stranded nucleic acid molecule which initiates DNA replication.
  8. (medicine, zoology) A pheromone which interacts first with the endocrine system.
  9. A device used to prime an internal combustion engine with gasoline, (especially) in airplanes.
  10. A person who prunes trees.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Grundierung
  • Russian: грунто́вка
  • French: sous-couche
  • German: Grundierung
  • Italian: vernice di fondo, mestica
  • Russian: грунт
Translations Translations Adjective

primer (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) First in time, initial, early.
    • the primer English kings
  2. (obsolete) First in importance, premier.
  3. (obsolete, rare) First in position, foremost.

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