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

Like his other work, which includes giant Super Soakers, self-tracking dart-boards, and techie halloween costumes, Rober’s latest invention is meant primarily as a bit of lighthearted fun. Jon Porter, The Verge, "YouTuber builds glitter bomb that farts on unsuspecting package thieves," 18 Dec. 2018 About half of Calm’s users use it primarily as a sleep app rather than a meditation app, the company says. Hilary Potkewitz, WSJ, "Headspace vs. Calm: The Meditation Battle That’s Anything but Zen," 15 Dec. 2018 In the 1950s, treadmills were used primarily as a way for doctors to stress test their patients. USA TODAY, "The biggest exercise fad the year you were born," 12 July 2018 Since, though, he has been involved primarily as a contractor in many LNG developments throughout the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia, and most recently Russia's Arctic Yamal project. Author: Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Veteran industry engineer questions aspects of Alaska LNG plans," 6 July 2018 Reducing state revenues by $10 billion is not so challenging, says Colbeck, considering total Michigan revenues have increased by a similar amount since 2010, primarily as a result of economic growth. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Does anyone running for governor have a new idea? We asked the candidates," 6 July 2018 Despite having played in all four of France’s World Cup matches so far in Russia, Fekir has been used primarily as a substitute by head coach Didier Deschamps., "Journalist Makes Liverpool Transfer Prediction & Hints at Post World Cup Signing," 3 July 2018 In addition, the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah operates in the region primarily as part of its worldwide illicit enterprise to fund its agenda in the Middle East. Tricia Bacon, Washington Post, "Does ‘zero tolerance’ protect the U.S. from terrorism or crime? Let’s examine the evidence.," 28 June 2018 The report argued that children who were previously associated with armed groups should be treated primarily as victims — and should be detained only as a last resort. Satoshi Sugiyama, New York Times, "U.N. Reports Sharp Increase in Children Killed or Maimed in Conflicts," 27 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

11 May 2019

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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 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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