pri·mar·i·ly | \ prī-ˈmer-ə-lē 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

Terri HIckey, a McDonald's spokeswoman said about 3,000 U.S. restaurants, primarily in the Midwest are impacted. USA TODAY, "Health officials: Dozens in Midwest sickened after eating McDonald's salads," 12 July 2018 Most of the characters in this movie live primarily in one of two worlds. Samantha Powell, The Cut, "Sorry to Bother You’s Costume Designer on Dressing Tessa Thompson," 10 July 2018 Cree employs about 4,000 workers in the U.S., primarily in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Cree Girds for LED Tariffs It Says Will Sting," 4 July 2018 Hernandez said labor's election opponents, primarily in the deep-pocketed business community, have often tried to spread out the playing field and make unions spend down their reserves each year. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "After 'wake-up call' from Supreme Court, California unions face tough political choices," 3 July 2018 Colonial Americans drank roughly three times as much as modern Americans, primarily in the form of beer, cider, and whiskey. Amanda Cargill, Smithsonian, "What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?," 3 July 2018 Her children live primarily in London, and Murdoch has been spending considerable time there recently. Sarah Ellison,, "Rupert Murdoch: The media mogul says goodbye to much of the company he built," 2 July 2018 When someone determines an individual’s identity is primarily in their profession, if that person’s views of that profession are low, there are real ramifications. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "The Capital Gazette shooting and what’s wrong with the current public discourse about the media," 29 June 2018 The mission of the Dart Foundation is to advance and encourage youth education, primarily in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Community news: Lincoln-Way Marching Band set for Mokena July 4 parade," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for primarily

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for primarily

The first known use of primarily was in 1601

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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 \

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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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