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 The two of them discuss the primacy of polar and climate research at the University of Alaska and how budget cuts threaten the ability to mitigate warming and prepare for the future. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "New book highlights the stories of young people behind a landmark climate case," 12 Dec. 2020 There are three strong lines of attack on the shareholder primacy argument, Zingales says. Peter Coy,, "A Sign the ESG Movement Is Too Big to Ignore: There’s Backlash," 22 Dec. 2020 For an industry that for a century was built on the primacy of movie theaters, the news was earth-shattering. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "How movie theaters can avoid extinction," 20 Dec. 2020 Lamont frequently defers to the primacy of personal responsibility, arguing that just because a restriction is implemented does not mean that residents will not engage in other hazardous behaviors. Eliza Fawcett,, "‘I can’t mandate common sense:’ Should appeals to personal responsibility guide Connecticut’s pandemic response?," 13 Dec. 2020 Not long ago in the Arab world there was a modicum of unanimity on the primacy of the Palestinian cause. Ben Wedeman, CNN, "The UAE and Israel's whirlwind honeymoon has gone beyond normalization," 3 Dec. 2020 As a result, quantum primacy with photons seemed out of reach. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Light-based Quantum Computer Exceeds Fastest Classical Supercomputers," 3 Dec. 2020 No single initiative, organization, or project can upend shareholder primacy. Alison Omens, Fortune, "Why surveying the American public can help us change capitalism," 31 Oct. 2020 While the primacy of various issues has shifted which groups are spending, there also are major differences between who’s on the ballot in this year compared with 2018. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Outside Spending for New York Political Races Tops $14 Million," 22 Oct. 2020

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

History and Etymology for primacy

Middle English primacie, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin prīmātia "office of a primate," from prīmāt-, prīmās "leading bishop in an ecclesiastical province, primate" + Latin -ia -y entry 2

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Time Traveler for primacy

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Primacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce primacy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of primacy

formal : the state of being most important or strongest

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Britannica English: Translation of primacy for Arabic Speakers

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