primate

noun
pri·​mate | \ ˈprī-ˌmāt or especially for sense 1 -mət How to pronounce primate (audio) \

Definition of primate

1 often capitalized : a bishop who has precedence in a province, a group of provinces, or a nation
2 archaic : one first in authority or rank : leader
3 [ New Latin Primates, from Latin, plural of primat-, primas ] : any of an order (Primates) of mammals that are characterized especially by advanced development of binocular vision resulting in stereoscopic depth perception, specialization of the hands and feet for grasping, and enlargement of the cerebral hemispheres and that include humans, apes, monkeys, and related forms (such as lemurs and tarsiers)

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Other Words from primate

primateship \ ˈprī-​ˌmāt-​ˌship How to pronounce primateship (audio) \ noun
primatial \ prī-​ˈmā-​shəl How to pronounce primatial (audio) \ adjective

Examples of primate in a Sentence

the Primate of England and Wales

Recent Examples on the Web

Then, 50 million to 60 million years ago, India began colliding with Asia, and along the swampy edges of the vanishing ocean between the land masses, new mammals emerged, including ancestral horses, primates, and whales. Sanjay Kumar, Science | AAAS, "India’s paleontologists fight destruction of its fossil riches," 4 Apr. 2018 The class, which is from 9-11 a.m., will be held on Park Place Terrace bordered by primate and flamingo exhibits. Rianne Coale, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do in Chicago this weekend," 18 May 2017 Tracy Kivell, a biological anthropology professor at Kent, said the team’s findings could explain why other primates are able to crack nuts without the benefit of a human-like hand. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Did the Human Hand Evolve as a Lean Mean Bone-Smashing Machine?," 13 July 2018 The primates from Tanzania's Gombe National Park have been at it for hundreds or even thousands of years, according to a new study. Saqib Shah, Fox News, "Promiscuous monkeys are having sex with other species, research shows," 25 Apr. 2018 In primates, one of the most potent stimuli for aggression is the presence of a strange individual. Richard Wrangham, WSJ, "Humans: The Domesticated Primates," 10 Jan. 2019 Then the teenagers killed a couple of squirrels, and the headman spotted a bush baby—a small, cute, large-eye primate—in the top of a tree. WSJ, "Hunting in Tanzania the Way Our Earliest Ancestors Did," 9 Oct. 2018 There are a few other venomous mammals, mostly shrews, but there’s only one venomous primate: Southeast Asia’s slow loris. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Poison," 25 Sep. 2018 Even then, experimental work with primates is incredibly challenging. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "The evolutionary mystery of gigantic human brains," 23 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'primate.' 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 primate

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for primate

Middle English primat, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin primat-, primas archbishop, from Latin, leader, from primus

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Statistics for primate

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for primate

The first known use of primate was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for primate

primate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of primate

: any member of the group of animals that includes human beings, apes, and monkeys
formal : the highest ranking priest in a particular country or area in some Christian churches (such as the Church of England)

primate

noun
pri·​mate | \ ˈprī-ˌmāt How to pronounce primate (audio) \

Kids Definition of primate

: any of a group of mammals that includes humans together with the apes and monkeys and a few related forms

primate

noun
pri·​mate | \ ˈprī-ˌmāt How to pronounce primate (audio) \

Medical Definition of primate

: any mammal of the order Primates

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More from Merriam-Webster on primate

Spanish Central: Translation of primate

Nglish: Translation of primate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of primate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about primate

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