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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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 Over the next 10 years, Eric was in and out of jail and prison, primarily for minor offenses. Emilie Eaton,, "Man beaten by San Antonio police officers remains in prison — even after charges against him were dismissed and the officers were fired," 16 Oct. 2020 The formula succeeded in gradually hushing criticism that the N.B.A. was taking grave risks, primarily for financial motivations, by rebooting a full-contact indoor team sport amid a pandemic. Marc Stein, New York Times, "N.B.A.’s Hollywood Ending Still Leaves Questions," 12 Oct. 2020 The rest of Meyer’s total was in-kind donations of about $250,000, primarily for television advertising. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Meyer says he’s centrist, Cattanach says he’s out of touch in Texas House rematch for key Dallas seat," 12 Oct. 2020 Zhang Jiying, whose company produces umbrellas primarily for export, is keen to develop Chinese markets as a hedge against future export shocks. Trefor Moss, WSJ, "China’s Export Machine Looks Inward as Global Risks Rise," 27 Sep. 2020 The Ivy Center for Education announces its upcoming workshops by Zoom primarily for students in 7-12th grades. Arkansas Online, "Pine Bluff Calendar of Events," 26 Sep. 2020 That leaves the City of Berkeley Public Health Department and Santa Clara County Public Health Department as the only local government entities left to approve the return of Pac-12 sports, primarily for Cal and Stanford, respectively. oregonlive, "Lane County Public Health approves Oregon athletics' plans to resume sports," 19 Sep. 2020 The Lakota functions primarily for search and rescue. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Battle against Oregon wildfires fought with short supply of air support after 6 Chinooks sent to Afghanistan," 14 Sep. 2020 The spaceport has been used, until now, primarily for military launches. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Delta IV Heavy gets a new date, SpaceX to destroy test tank," 11 Sep. 2020

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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Primarily.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for primarily


How to pronounce primarily (audio)

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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