Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

prime

play
noun \ˈprīm\

Simple Definition of prime

  • : the period in life when a person is best in health, strength, etc. : the most active or successful time of a person's life

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of prime

  1. 1 a often capitalized :  the second of the canonical hours b :  the first hour of the day usually considered either as 6 a.m. or the hour of sunrise

  2. 2 a :  the earliest stage b :  spring c :  youth

  3. 3 :  the most active, thriving, or satisfying stage or period <in the prime of his life>

  4. 4 :  the chief or best individual or part :  pick <prime of the flock, and choicest of the stall — Alexander Pope>

  5. 5 :  prime number

  6. 6 a :  the first note or tone of a musical scale :  tonic b :  the interval between two notes on the same staff degree

  7. 7 :  the symbol ′ used to distinguish arbitrary characters (as a and a′), to indicate a specific unit (as feet or minutes of time or angular measure), or to indicate the derivative of a function (as p′ or f′(x)) — compare double prime

  8. 8 :  prime rate

Examples of prime in a sentence

  1. young college graduates in the prime of life

  2. The interest rate is two percent plus prime.



Origin and Etymology of prime

Middle English, from Old English prīm, from Latin prima hora first hour


First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Calendar Terms


2

prime

adjective

Simple Definition of prime

  • : most important

  • : of the highest quality or value

  • —used to say that someone or something is a very good example of a particular kind of person or thing

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of prime

  1. 1 :  first in time :  original

  2. 2 a :  of, relating to, or being a prime number — compare relatively prime b :  having no polynomial factors other than itself and no monomial factors other than 1 <a prime polynomial> c :  expressed as a product of prime factors (as prime numbers and prime polynomials) <a prime factorization>

  3. 3 a :  first in rank, authority, or significance :  principal <a prime example> b :  having the highest quality or value <prime farmland> c :  of the highest grade regularly marketed —used of meat and especially beef

  4. 4 :  not deriving from something else :  primary

primely

adverb

primeness

noun

Examples of prime in a sentence

  1. The wine industry is of prime importance to the California economy.

  2. The police have not yet named the prime suspect in the murder investigation.

  3. The house is expensive because it's in a prime location.



Origin and Etymology of prime

Middle English, from Anglo-French, feminine of prim first, from Latin primus; akin to Latin prior


First Known Use: 14th century


3

prime

verb

Simple Definition of prime

  • : to make (someone) ready to do something

  • : to make (something) ready for use

  • : to cover (a surface) with special paint in order to prepare it for the final layer of paint

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of prime

primed

priming

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  fill, load

  3. 2 a :  to prepare for firing by supplying with priming b :  to insert a primer into (a cartridge case)

  4. 3 :  to apply the first color, coating, or preparation to <prime a wall>

  5. 4 a :  to put into working order by filling or charging with something <prime a pump with water> b :  to supply with an essential prerequisite (as a hormone, nucleic acid, or antigen) for chemical or biological activity <primed female mice with estrogen>

  6. 5 :  to instruct beforehand :  coach <primed the witness>

  7. 6 :  stimulate

  8. intransitive verb
  9. :  to become prime

prime the pump

  1. :  to take steps to encourage the growth or functioning of something

Examples of prime in a sentence

  1. She was obviously primed for the questions at the press conference.

  2. Both teams are primed for battle and ready to play.

  3. We sanded and primed the woodwork before painting.



Origin and Etymology of prime

probably from 1prime


First Known Use: 1513



PRIME Defined for Kids

1

prime

play
noun \ˈprīm\

Definition of prime for Students

  1. :  the period in life when a person is best in health, looks, or strength




2

prime

play
adjective

Definition of prime for Students

  1. :  first in importance, rank, or quality <Spring is a prime season to work outdoors.>




3

prime

play
verb

Definition of prime for Students

primed

priming

  1. 1 :  to put a first color or coating on <Prime the wall before painting.>

  2. 2 :  to put into working order by filling <prime a pump>

  3. 3 :  to make (someone or something) ready <The coach is priming him to be quarterback.>




Law Dictionary

1

prime

noun

Legal Definition of prime




2

prime

transitive verb

Legal Definition of prime

primed

priming

  1. :  to have priority over <a perfected security interest primes an unperfected one>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up prime? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

looking or feeling very sad

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

dog-eating-apple

Which is a synonym of asperse?

divulge defame beat placate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ