pri·ma·cy | \ˈprī-mə-sē \

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

What beast will come out of today’s scrum to battle for primacy in the new world of personal transportation? Rick Tetzeli, Fortune, "GM Gets Ready for a Post-Car Future," 23 May 2018 But the mere proposal of a new competition involving the world’s top clubs has exacerbated long simmering acrimony between FIFA and UEFA, the European soccer governing body, over primacy in soccer. Tariq Panja, New York Times, "FIFA Pitches Multibillion-Dollar ‘Project Trophy’ to Seven Top Clubs," 9 May 2018 Nationally, single-family home construction, eclipsed by multi-family starts after the housing market crash a decade ago, regained primacy two years ago. Rick Hampson, USA TODAY, "The single-family house: An American symbol facing an uncertain future," 25 Apr. 2018 In the 45 years since the Goldwater rule was adopted, substantial multidisciplinary research has cast serious doubt on the primacy and necessity of an in-person interview as the sole basis for assessment in all circumstances. Leonard L. Glass, STAT, "The Goldwater rule is broken. Here’s how to fix it," 28 June 2018 Eventually, that industry helped put a stake in the primacy of American rail travel, and thus in the beaux-arts station. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Why Ford Is Buying Detroit’s Derelict Train Station," 19 June 2018 The medium was Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, two men certain of the primacy of their nations and themselves, encountering each other face to face in a neutral and controlled location with the highest of stakes between them. Washington Post, "For Trump and Kim, maybe the spectacle is what truly counted," 12 June 2018 The brothers were presented to the public, and, indeed, at times, presented themselves, as a striking argument for biological determinism, a victory for those who believe in the primacy of nature over the push back of nurture. Justin Chang,, "'Three Identical Strangers' is a riveting account of identical triplets separated at birth," 28 June 2018 One reason the primary hasn’t become a dash to the ideological left may be the primacy of gun control in the race. Washington Post, "Race to take on Comstock focuses on resume, not ideology," 1 June 2018

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

8 Oct 2018

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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

: 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

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