primate

noun
pri·​mate | \ ˈprī-ˌmāt or especially for sense 1 -mət \

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 \ noun
primatial \ prī-​ˈmā-​shəl \ adjective

Examples of primate in a Sentence

the Primate of England and Wales

Recent Examples on the Web

Billions of years later, a bunch of primates figured out how to re-create a quark-gluon plasma by smashing heavy atoms together. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Atoms may come apart as the Universe’s biggest stars explode," 24 Oct. 2018 According to its most recent annual report to the USDA, the UW had more than 4,000 research animals, 667 of which were primates. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Research monkey strangles to death at new UW animal lab," 20 Sep. 2018 This suggests that our common ancestor with chimpanzees also had a fairly typical repertoire of vocal communication for a nonhuman primate. Michael Wilson, Smithsonian, "What Can Chimpanzee Calls Tell Us About the Origins of Human Language?," 10 May 2018 His further research determined that nature's best continuous jumper is the galago, or bush baby, a nocturnal primate native to Africa. Erin Biba, Scientific American, "This Adorable Mammal Inspired a More Agile Robot," 1 May 2017 Fossey, who died in 1985, had projected that the primates may be extinct by 2000. Christina Larson, The Seattle Times, "Rare conservation win: Mountain gorilla population ticks up," 14 Nov. 2018 The zoological term primate refers to the order of mammals that includes humans, gorillas, apes, gibbons, and monkeys, among other species. Brett Clarkson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Zoo Miami's oldest primate, a gibbon called Prisilla, dies at almost 50," 5 June 2018 The monkey is the 10th primate to die accidentally at the UW since 2009, when a male macaque starved to death. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Research monkey strangles to death at new UW animal lab," 20 Sep. 2018 And the only nonhuman animals so far to pass the kind of test bees did are primates and one bird. James Gorman, New York Times, "Do Bees Know Nothing?," 7 June 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

18 Jan 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

: 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 \

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 \

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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