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

Well, The Dark World suffered from early pacing problems and an overly elaborate plot, bolstered primarily by terrific performances by Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "We’re getting a fourth Thor film, and Taika Waititi is directing it," 16 July 2019 Those programs are funded primarily by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Trouble Seeing a Specialist? Here’s What’s Driving the ‘Doctor Draught’," 15 July 2019 The Grants Pass Daily Courier reports that expulsions in the small southern Oregon town have spiked by 34%, driven primarily by marijuana offenses., "Tales of teen vaping in Clackamas County, displaced Portland charter students find new schools: The week in education," 13 July 2019 The Washington area, which also is served primarily by underground systems, also is expecting extreme heat and humidity this week. Olivia Sanchez, USA TODAY, "Triple-digit temperatures could bring blackouts in New York City, DC and Chicago," 10 July 2019 Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who has studied Macomb County since the 1980s, said that voters here are driven primarily by economic and labor concerns, especially as the union jobs that once promised a steady salary increasingly disappear. NBC News, "Michigan town prepares for auto plant to close as Democratic candidates debate labor issues," 28 June 2019 Lots of lawsuits and garnishments Between 2014 and 2018, more than 163,000 debt lawsuits were filed in Shelby County General Sessions Court, primarily by debt buyers, auto loan companies and hospitals. Wendi C. Thomas, ProPublica, "The Nonprofit Hospital That Makes Millions, Owns a Collection Agency and Relentlessly Sues the Poor," 27 June 2019 Check out places like Dame Products, Babeland, Unbound, Wildflower, and Sweet Vibrations, which are all founded and run primarily by people with vaginas. Gigi Engle, SELF, "5 Tips for Buying Your Very First Vibrator," 26 June 2019 But the military brass has been unwilling to accept terms that don’t include a joint council led primarily by military officers. Julia Steers, WSJ, "Brutal Sudanese Militia Leader Plays a Bigger Role in War-Torn Nation," 20 June 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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Statistics for primarily

Last Updated

20 Jul 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).


something desired as essential

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