\ ˈprim How to pronounce prim (audio) \
primmed; primming

Definition of prim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to give a prim or demure expression to primming her thin lips after every mouthful— John Buchan
2 : to dress primly
primmer; primmest

Definition of prim (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : stiffly formal and proper : decorous
2 : neat, trim prim hedges

Definition of prim (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from prim


primly adverb
primness noun

Examples of prim in a Sentence

Adjective He has prim views on religion. Her aunts were very prim and proper.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The only reason not to be—in his opinion—was a fussy, prim commitment to ideas that society had outgrown. Kim Phillips-fein, The New Republic, "The Lost Rebellious Spirit of Keynes," 9 June 2020 Under all that prim and properness, though, lies a heart of gold with a fierce loyal streak. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "Fictional Southern Characters That We'd Want as Our Very Best Friends," 5 Apr. 2020 But for much of their history, these prim and proper jewels have led a secret life, doubling as accessories for erotic fantasy. Susan Delson, WSJ, "Bling Through the Ages," 1 Nov. 2018 An upscale couple in facemasks and leather gloves trailed their prim and glossy dachshund. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 So this prim and proper poodle chowed down on the closest thing her humans could find - a fast-food treat that proved to be the perfect fuel for her final show. CBS News, "Poodle wins group at Westminster dog show after McDonald's snack," 11 Feb. 2020 And while Ward pulled her hair into a messy updo and topped it with a prim sun hat in the iconic 1990 film, Roberts wore her hair down in loose waves. Neha Prakash, Glamour, "Julia Roberts Channeled Her Iconic Pretty Woman Character in a Polka-Dot Jumpsuit," 6 Oct. 2019 On this day, the mood of dread washed over the rolling hills, the prim pathways, the polished signs. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, "In an endless news cycle, art at Glenstone both echoes and quiets the chaos," 30 Jan. 2020 Move over, Mona Lisa Smile, because Annie James is here in a prim yellow button-up cardigan to give you a run for your money. Emma Specter, Vogue, "The Enduring Appeal of the Sweater Movie," 10 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prim


1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1702, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for prim


earlier as intransitive verb, "to assume a formal or demure air," of obscure origin

Note: First attested in the comedies of Thomas d'urfey, as Fool's Preferment (1688) and The Marriage-Hater Match'd (1692). Akin in sense to primp, attested earlier, though the verb as well as the adjective primp "(of the mouth) pursed, primly set" are nearly exclusive to Scots and American English.


derivative of or akin to prim entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Prim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for prim

English Language Learners Definition of prim

: very formal and proper
: easily shocked or upset by rude behavior, comments, etc.
: very neat in appearance
\ ˈprim How to pronounce prim (audio) \
primmer; primmest

Kids Definition of prim

: very formal and proper

Other Words from prim

primly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on prim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prim

Spanish Central: Translation of prim

Nglish: Translation of prim for Spanish Speakers

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