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

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 In November, the FreeBSD project announced its acknowledgment of the new de facto primacy of Linux as the flagship development platform for OpenZFS. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Digging into the new features in OpenZFS post-Linux migration," 20 June 2019 Whether Mr Esper could restore the primacy that the Pentagon, the federal government’s biggest department, has traditionally enjoyed in security decision-making is another matter. Lexington | Washington, The Economist, "Mark Esper looks set to be America’s next defence secretary," 22 June 2019 Joe Sobran of National Review welcomed Evers’ acceptance of the primacy of social power but added that the state should recognize certain social institutions as authoritative. Richard Brookhiser, National Review, "Moving Portrait," 4 June 2019 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

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

16 Jul 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

What made you want to look up primacy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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