pri·​mar·​i·​ly | \ prī-ˈmer-ə-lē How to pronounce primarily (audio) also prə-, chiefly British ˈprī-mə-rə-lē \

Definition of primarily

1 : for the most part : chiefly has now become primarily a residential town— S. P. B. Mais
2 : in the first place : originally

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Synonyms for primarily


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Examples of primarily in a Sentence

the university was primarily an agricultural college when it was founded over two centuries ago ketchup is primarily made from tomatoes
Recent Examples on the Web Complicating matters is China’s view that climate change is primarily an American responsibility. New York Times, 7 Oct. 2021 The district’s residents are primarily Black and Latino, and about one-third are foreign-born., 7 Oct. 2021 The source of their elimination is primarily human activity — the upsetting of natural evolutionary changes through habitat destruction, pollution, over-hunting and -fishing, and, potentially most devastatingly, climate change. Liz Blossom, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2021 The reason behind this is primarily the Hill-Rom acquisition. Trefis Team, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 While the film contains impressive shots of the New Zealand landscape (fulfilling the role of 1925 Montana), the camera's focus is primarily on the chamber drama of family dynamics being redrawn. CBS News, 6 Oct. 2021 The highest amounts will primarily be across Alabama and Georgia through Friday. Jennifer Gray, CNN, 4 Oct. 2021 The overall market for literary fiction is shrinking, but that is not primarily because Amazon’s algorithm is diverting the readers for these works toward multipart erotic e-books instead. Kyle Chayka, The New Republic, 4 Oct. 2021 DeLonge is primarily a guitarist, singer and songwriter. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Oct. 2021

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

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for primarily

primary entry 1 + -ly entry 2

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Time Traveler for primarily

Time Traveler

The first known use of primarily was in 1601

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Statistics for primarily

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Primarily.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of primarily

used to indicate the main purpose of something, reason for something, etc.


pri·​mar·​i·​ly | \ prī-ˈmer-ə-lē How to pronounce primarily (audio) \

Kids Definition of primarily

: more than anything else : mainly … he always considered himself a sculptor, and primarily a sculptor of marble.— E. L. Konigsburg, From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

More from Merriam-Webster on primarily

Nglish: Translation of primarily for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of primarily for Arabic Speakers


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