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, specialization of the appendages for grasping, and enlargement of the cerebral hemispheres and that include humans, apes, monkeys, and related forms (as lemurs and tarsiers)
primateshipplay \-ˌship\ noun
primatialplay \prī-ˈmā-shəl\ adjective
Examples of primate in a sentence
the Primate of England and Wales
Did You Know?
It was the great biologist Carolus Linnaeus who gave the primates their name, to indicate that animals of this order were the most advanced of all. Linnaeus listed human beings with the apes a hundred years before Charles Darwin would publish his famous work on evolution. When people told him that our close relationship to the apes and monkeys was impossible because it disagreed with the Bible, he responded that, from the biological evidence, he simply couldn't come to a different conclusion. Among the mammals, the primates are distinguished by their large brains, weak sense of smell, lack of claws, long pregnancies, and long childhoods, among other things. Along with the apes and monkey, the Primate order includes such interesting animals as the lemurs, tarsiers, galagos, and lorises.
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 century
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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