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)
primateshipplay \-ˌship\ noun
primatialplay \prī-ˈmā-shəl\ adjective
Examples of primate in a Sentence
the Primate of England and Wales
Recent Examples of primate from the Web
Numerous studies have illustrated that kind of damaging potential in cell cultures and animals, including rodents and primates.
As one of our closest biological relatives, some primates can appear eerily similar to humans.
Brotcorne told Owens that her research offers insight into how primates plan, understand their own actions, and transmit information between groups.
Primate researchers in Indonesia say a monkey mafia presides over an Indonesian temple.
Nonhuman primates spend up to a fifth two-thirds of their time grooming one another.
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.
Origin and Etymology of primate
Middle English primat, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin primat-, primas archbishop, from Latin, leader, from primus
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
PRIMATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of primate for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of primate for Students
: any of a group of mammals that includes humans together with the apes and monkeys and a few related forms
Medical Definition of primate
: any mammal of the order Primates
Seen and Heard
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