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 : 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)

Other Words from primate

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

Examples of primate in a Sentence

the Primate of England and Wales
Recent Examples on the Web In Indonesia, which is plagued with peat fires, primatologist and ecologist Wendy Erb of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has studied smoke’s effect on another primate, the orangutan. Wired, 28 July 2022 But early tests on gibbons, another primate, failed miserably. Brenna Maloney, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 In an update on Saturday morning, police tweeted that there was still one monkey unaccounted for, before a follow-up statement that same night alerted residents that each primate had been found. Nicholas Rice,, 23 Jan. 2022 This iconic primate is a close relative of the baboon, and can be found only in the Ethiopian Highlands, a spectacularly beautiful natural region located in the western portion of Ethiopia. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 18 May 2022 After this diagnosis, the primate developed an irregular heartbeat and had a heart monitor placed in 2017. Glenn Garner,, 12 May 2022 Video footage showed the dog unexpectedly enter the gorilla exhibit at the zoo's Safari Park, and onlookers can be heard trying to lure the dog away from the primate. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 14 June 2022 The zoo said the primate, born to parents Hendricks and Hemsworth, is the second blue-eyed black lemur born at the facility. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 2 Apr. 2022 In this way, the whole collection accrues value, and individual ownership doesn’t just give you a clever drawing of a primate. Bob Bonniol, Rolling Stone, 23 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of primate

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for primate

Middle English primat, primate, borrowed from Anglo-French primat, primas, borrowed from Late Latin prīmāt-, prīmās "chief, superior, chief bishop," noun derivative of Latin prīmāt-, prīmās "of the highest rank, noble," from prīmus "first, foremost" + -āt-, -ās, adjective-forming suffix, originally from place names; (sense 3) after New Latin Primates (order name introduced by linnaeus), plural of Latin prīmās — more at prime entry 2

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Time Traveler for primate

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

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Dictionary Entries Near primate

primary xylem


primatial council

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Statistics for primate

Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Primate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for primate


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


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

Medical Definition of primate

: any mammal of the order Primates

More from Merriam-Webster on primate

Nglish: Translation of primate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of primate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about primate


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