pri·​ma·​cy | \ ˈprī-mə-sē How to pronounce primacy (audio) \

Definition of primacy

1 : the state of being first (as in importance, order, or rank) : preeminence the primacy of intellectual and esthetic over materialistic values— T. R. McConnell
2 : the office, rank, or preeminence of an ecclesiastical primate

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Examples of primacy in a Sentence

Civil law took primacy over religious law. She has established primacy in her field of study.

Recent Examples on the Web

Yesterday’s story on the end of shareholder primacy drew lots of reaction, in my email and on my Twitter feed. David Meyer, Fortune, "Feedback on the Business Roundtable Shift: CEO Daily," 20 Aug. 2019 The idea that businesses exist primarily to benefit shareholders -- also known as shareholder primacy -- took hold in corporate America in the 1980s. Dallas News, "CEOs of eight Dallas-Fort Worth companies sign on to rethink meaning of shareholder value," 19 Aug. 2019 Invention does not grant eternal ownership or even primacy; just ask the Ford Motor Company. Los Angeles Times, "Netflix is having a long, cruel summer," 23 July 2019 Then, in the age of the printing press and mass literacy, writing acquired a kind of primacy, seen as prestigious, a standard to be learned and imitated (often even in speech). The Economist, "The internet is changing language less than curmudgeons fear," 18 July 2019 Putting them in order, let alone selecting one out of the crowd for primacy would feel, well, immature and even risky. Eric Zorn,, "Column: Online security questions have become a whale of a weird idea," 16 July 2019 Meanwhile, some see a race to claim primacy between those who still believe in Damascus and those who want to just be done., "Zombie city Damascus in a battle for its soul, future," 22 June 2019 But there is also the temptation to say that America needs another Apollo-style program to reclaim its primacy in space. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "3 Reasons Why Today's Space Race Is Better Than Apollo," 24 June 2019 Just ask Teddy Vasquez, whose improbable rise from struggling Uber driver to Los Angeles taco sensation attests to the cultural and economic primacy of the neighborhood taco truck in this city. Patricia Escárcega,, "Patricia Escárcega’s five favorite restaurants that she reviewed this year (so far)," 3 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'primacy.' 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 primacy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for primacy

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for primacy

The first known use of primacy was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of primacy

formal : the state of being most important or strongest

More from Merriam-Webster on primacy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for primacy

Britannica English: Translation of primacy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on primacy

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recurring in steady succession

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