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


firstly, initially, originally

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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

The new iPad Pro is powerful enough to charge a phone, but its ports are set up primarily for one phone in particular. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "Silicon Valley brings its “humanist,” “minimalist” aesthetic to Brooklyn.," 31 Oct. 2018 Between 2010 and 2016, the pair allegedly spent a total at $11,375.46 in campaign funds at Costco, primarily for personal items including groceries, toiletries, cosmetics, pet supplies and video games. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Rep. Duncan Hunter pleads not guilty, claims indictment 'politically motivated'," 23 Aug. 2018 Ultimately, the plant would turn out 500,000 vehicles a year, primarily for the China market. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: A first round of reuniting families," 11 July 2018 The lawsuit did not seek damages, and most of the monetary settlement would go toward litigation costs, primarily for expert witnesses and depositions, the ACLU has said. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "City of Milwaukee aims to cap consultant fees for stop-and-frisk lawsuit at $1.5 million," 2 July 2018 The duchess and mom-to-be now dresses primarily in more high-end brands and sticks to some favorite designer labels like Aquazurra and Sarah Flint. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "True Friend Meghan Markle Once Threw a Party to Give Her Friends Clothes," 4 Jan. 2019 The latest installment of the beloved franchise is set primarily in the U.K. and Morocco—but despite the new backdrop, the uniform remains the same. Ana Colón, Glamour, "You Need to Watch the New Men in Black International Trailer Just for Tessa Thompson's Suits," 20 Dec. 2018 Lodging is primarily in three- to- four-star boutique hotels and pensions. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Places Our Travel Specialists Say You Should Go in 2019," 17 Dec. 2018 Reverse lunges challenge many muscles in your lower-body, primarily, the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How Adding a Resistance Band to Reverse Lunges Can Help Perfect Your Form," 6 Feb. 2019

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

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Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for primarily

The first known use of primarily was in 1601

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More Definitions for primarily



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, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

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Comments on primarily

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


to corrupt or become corrupted

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