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

Though the food is primal (meats cooked over a live fire), the ambiance at Miller’s Guild is sleek and modern. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Brunch & Breakfast Places in Seattle," 21 May 2018 When Alan stops the engine and turned off the lights, plunging us into total darkness, the fear is absolutely primal. Virginia Van Zanten, Vogue, "Why Botswana Should Top Your Travel List in 2019," 27 Dec. 2018 The cave-like dining alcoves in the subterranean dining room encourage diners to get in touch with their most primal urges. Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "The Secret to This Dish's Deep Flavor," 18 Oct. 2018 But here, your swing is something much more primal. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "Axe Throwing: the Hot New Happy Hour Alternative and Low-Key Workout," 20 July 2018 Something felt unbalanced, as if a stealth assault had been made on the limbic system, the lacy cortical network that forms the architecture of our primal needs and emotions: pleasure, anger, fear. Guy Trebay, Condé Nast Traveler, "In the Heart of Navajo Lands," 19 Oct. 2018 On a more primal level, the warmth and light generated by the sun—or tanning beds—contribute to the nasty habit’s allure. Dana Wood, WSJ, "6 Actually Convincing Ways to Fake a Tan," 15 May 2018 Lost in the mists of history, the New York Times seems to have believed as recently as 2007 that the pith helmet could be part of a compelling fashion ensemble: This season, the call of the wild sounds more like a primal scream. James Freeman, WSJ, "Columbus, Churchill and Melania," 8 Oct. 2018 The primal part of my brain started to scream that this was a good time to start panicking. Chris Peterman, Ars Technica, "Risky Thailand cave rescue relied on talent, luck—and on sticking to the rules," 22 July 2018

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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Statistics for primal

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for primal

The first known use of primal was in 1604

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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

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