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 Russian Orthodox Church, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the largest and wealthiest Orthodox church, has long vied with the Ecumenical Patriarchate for primacy. James Marson, WSJ, "New Ukrainian Church Officially Recognized, Gains Independence From Russia," 6 Jan. 2019 The Resistance is the Mob, and Mr. Trump represents the bracingly uncouth primacy of the earlier republic. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "The Trump War Is a Boomer Battle," 27 Aug. 2018 What unites the two stories is the primacy of service: George Bailey to the people of Bedford Falls, George Bush to his nation. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "George Bush’s Wonderful Life," 2 Dec. 2018 But shareholder primacy, in which corporate boards prioritize maximizing profits and returns to shareholders above all else, has been on the rise since the 1980s — along with a focus on short-term profits instead of long-term stability and success. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Stock buybacks, explained," 2 Aug. 2018 But shareholder primacy isn’t a new phenomenon: Birinyi Associates, a market research firm, has tracked $9.9 trillion in stock buyback announcements since 1984. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Corporate stock buybacks are booming, thanks to the Republican tax cuts," 22 Mar. 2018 Its ubiquitous Windows system was losing its primacy and a costly bet on acquiring Nokia’s mobile-phone business had failed to pay off. Matt Murray, WSJ, "Microsoft’s Resurgence Under Satya Nadella," 1 Feb. 2019 But what pushes it above the rest is the utter drive of both Max and Herman, as love and competition gains primacy over every aspect of their lives. Vogue, "The 55 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time," 1 Feb. 2019 Faster than anyone thought possible, Japan ceased to be a threat to U.S. economic primacy. Peter Landers, WSJ, "The Old U.S. Trade War With Japan Looms Over Today’s Dispute With China," 13 Dec. 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

4 Jun 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

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a tendency to relapse

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