pri·​mal ˈprī-məl How to pronounce primal (audio)
: original, primitive
village life continued in its primal innocenceVan Wyck Brooks
: first in importance : primary

Examples of primal in a Sentence

the primal theme of the essay is toleration of religious diversity there was a period of primal idealism after the founding of the republic and before the rise of partisan politics
Recent Examples on the Web Though debunked, the theory had wide influence, notably on Sigmund Freud, who suggested that everyone carries a primal inheritance in the form of the Oedipus complex, which haunts the unconscious with guilt and repression. Maya Jasanoff, The New Yorker, 6 May 2024 Millions of people have gone through this primal rite of passage since the beginning of time. Mercedes Bleth, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for primal 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'primal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from prime entry 2 + -al entry 1

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of primal was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near primal

Cite this Entry

“Primal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


pri·​mal ˈprī-məl How to pronounce primal (audio)
: of or relating to the first period or state : primitive
: first in importance : basic

More from Merriam-Webster on primal

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