pri·​mal | \ ˈprī-məl How to pronounce primal (audio) \

Definition of primal

1 : original, primitive village life continued in its primal innocence— Van Wyck Brooks
2 : first in importance : primary

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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 This president is about to become the first president, in the history of this nation, who will be impeached for violating one of the Founders' most primal fears, which is inviting formal involvement into our elections. NBC News, "Meet the Press - December 15, 2019," 15 Dec. 2019 But unlike big bug movies, these films featured adversaries that preyed on primal fears: sharks, grizzlies, bees, etc. Elizabeth Horkley, Quartz, "Our obsession with insects in horror films says a lot about our fear of destroying the planet," 30 Oct. 2019 But the characters also demonstrate a primal fear for their children. Michele Corriston,, "How Lifetime's College Admissions Scandal Compares to Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman's Cases," 12 Oct. 2019 Billie Eilish makes primal, teleporting, marrow-thick music about climate change and addiction. Jason Parham, Wired, "The 7 Best Albums of 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 The Star Wars cycle is the answer—a quest for the primal structure of society and family and identity that, in the process, would also gratify those in desperate need of such answers. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Robotic Familiarity of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”," 19 Dec. 2019 Skrillex scores the Spring Breakers soundtrack (2012) Whomst amongst us can forget James Franco’s primal call of the mid-00s party wilderness? Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The Top 100 Moments of the EDM Decade," 17 Dec. 2019 After taking an American woman hostage, the group slowly devolves into primal chaos. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "Seven fantastic, under-the-radar movies you may have missed in 2019," 7 Dec. 2019 Murray fell to the ground and arose with a primal scream. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "With defense and vision, Nuggets star Jamal Murray not just a “traditional” point guard anymore," 15 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'primal.' 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 primal

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for primal

Medieval Latin primalis, from Latin primus first — more at prime

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Time Traveler for primal

Time Traveler

The first known use of primal was in 1604

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Statistics for primal

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Primal.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for primal


How to pronounce primal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of primal

formal : very basic and powerful

More from Merriam-Webster on primal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for primal

Britannica English: Translation of primal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on primal

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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