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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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

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 Which seems suspicious for a variety of reasons, primarily that Ziva apparently has a child with Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), according to Entertainment Weekly. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Here's Why 'NCIS' Can't Air the Mysterious Ziva Episode Tonight as Planned," 5 Feb. 2019 The hotline runs on contributions and is primarily for those in crisis. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 But big tech today seems, primarily, about clicks, monopolies and then monetizing at all costs. Eric Johnson, Recode, "There should be ‘consequences’ for platforms that don’t remove people like Alex Jones, Senator Ron Wyden says," 22 Aug. 2018 Dual-purpose breeds (eggs and meat) such as Buff Orpingtons and Silver Laced Wyandottes, are heavier than layers but have better egg production than broilers, breeds used primarily for meat. Denise Foley, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Raising Backyard Chickens," 14 Aug. 2018 The entire idea of a competition based primarily on looks is passé, but amid the spectacle of last night’s Miss Universe contest, something special happened. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Even Supermodels Were Impressed by Catriona Gray’s “Lava Walk”," 17 Dec. 2018 The online infrastructure will be built primarily on top of Amazon Web Services, as is the case with Fortnite, and may support Google's Cloud Platform in the future. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Epic opens Fortnite’s cross-platform services for free to other devs," 12 Dec. 2018 Today, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer has taken a small step in that direction by agreeing to acquire Eloquii, a four-year-old startup that makes and sells its own line of plus-sized women’s fashion primarily through its own website. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Walmart plans to acquire plus-sized fashion startup Eloquii for $100 million," 2 Oct. 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

16 Feb 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 \

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 express emotion in a dramatic way

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