prime

noun
\ ˈprīm How to pronounce prime (audio) \

Definition of prime

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a often capitalized : the second of the canonical hours
b : the first hour of the day usually considered either as 6 a.m. or the hour of sunrise
2a : the earliest stage
b : spring
c : youth
3 : the most active, thriving, or satisfying stage or period in the prime of his life
4 : the chief or best individual or part : pick prime of the flock, and choicest of the stall— Alexander Pope
6a : the first note or tone of a musical scale : tonic
b : the interval between two notes on the same staff degree
7 : the symbol ′ used to distinguish arbitrary characters (such as a and a′), to indicate a specific unit (such as feet or minutes of time or angular measure), or to indicate the derivative of a function (such as p′ or f′(x)) — compare double prime

prime

adjective

Definition of prime (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : first in time : original
2a : of, relating to, or being a prime number — compare relatively prime
b : having no polynomial factors other than itself and no monomial factors other than 1 a prime polynomial
c : expressed as a product of prime factors (such as prime numbers and prime polynomials) a prime factorization
3a : first in rank, authority, or significance : principal a prime example
b : having the highest quality or value prime farmland
c : of the highest grade regularly marketed used of meat and especially beef
4 : not deriving from something else : primary

prime

verb
primed; priming

Definition of prime (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : fill, load
2a : to prepare for firing by supplying with priming
b : to insert a primer into (a cartridge case)
3 : to apply the first color, coating, or preparation to prime a wall
4a : to put into working order by filling or charging with something prime a pump with water
b : to supply with an essential prerequisite (such as a hormone, nucleic acid, or antigen) for chemical or biological activity primed female mice with estrogen
5 : to instruct beforehand : coach primed the witness
6 : stimulate

intransitive verb

: to become prime
prime the pump
: to take steps to encourage the growth or functioning of something

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Other Words from prime

Adjective

primely adverb
primeness noun

Examples of prime in a Sentence

Noun

young college graduates in the prime of life The interest rate is two percent plus prime.

Adjective

The wine industry is of prime importance to the California economy. The police have not yet named the prime suspect in the murder investigation. The house is expensive because it's in a prime location.

Verb

She was obviously primed for the questions at the press conference. Both teams are primed for battle and ready to play. We sanded and primed the woodwork before painting.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Grand National is a prime stepping stone to the $100,000 Hunt Cup, which will be run next Saturday in Glyndon. Sun Staff Reports, baltimoresun.com, "Senior Senator repeats as Grand National steeplechase champion," 21 Apr. 2018 That all led to wondering if the Seahawks were wasting the prime of an elite quarterback, one whose own longterm future is hardly settled with a contract that runs out following the 2019 season. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: Three reasons why the Seahawks may be turning a corner," 23 Oct. 2018 While Ellis-Ross posts her share of poolside snapshots and updates from far-flung destinations, her feed is a refreshing look at a woman enjoying the prime of her life. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Tracee Ellis Ross Is Living Her Best Life On and Off Instagram," 1 Aug. 2018 Among the civic emotions, outrage is a beast of the prime; to harness outrage is to discover fire. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "America Is Addicted to Outrage. Is There a Cure?," 30 Nov. 2018 Critics would howl that the ownership group was out of touch, that the team wasted two or three years of Antetokounmpo’s prime on a publicity stunt. Gary D'amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "D'Amato: Time not right for Becky Hammon to coach Bucks," 11 May 2018 There are a lot of great superstars in their primes in the American League right now, and Trout's selection here is no mark against the likes of Francisco Lindor, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Ted Berg, USA TODAY, "Picking every MLB division and award for 2018," 27 Mar. 2018 Elliott, who rushed for 983 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing six games because of a suspension in his second season, is about to hit the prime of his career, Tomlinson said. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Ezekiel Elliott has some work to do, this Hall of Famer says. "I think he understands what he means to the Dallas Cowboys." | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 19 May 2018 The efficiency of the Venetian stroke allows gondoliers to continue rowing beyond their athletic prime. Jillian Berman, WSJ, "A Model Gondolier With a Relentless Regimen," 20 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Machado gives San Diego one of baseball’s best players still in his prime. John Marshall, The Seattle Times, "Padres buzzing over impending arrival of Manny Machado," 20 Feb. 2019 Buds already past their prime were completely dehydrated Tuesday during a visit to the gardens, and singed brown leaves could be seen not only on camellia shrubs but also on ferns and the new growth of surrounding oak trees. Sara Cardine, latimes.com, "Acres of historic camellias at Descanso Gardens scorched during weekend’s triple-digit heat," 12 July 2018 In his prime, John Henwood was a world-class runner who, representing New Zealand, made the 2004 Olympic final in the 10,000-meters. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "How to Set Running Goals as You Age," 27 June 2018 There is reason to believe Tyreek Hill can be even better, and reason to believe Travis Kelce is still in his prime. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Herrera's gone, what's next for Royals and worrisome about Chiefs," 19 June 2018 Obviously there’s more to playing the receiver than pure speed, but Owens was always more than a physical freak during his prime. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "44-year-old Terrell Owens is running a 4.4 40-yard-dash, apparently," 18 June 2018 His breed can live more than 70 years, so Fred is still in his prime, Colick said. Lisa Maria Garza, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Shameless' tortoise named Fred celebrates 19th birthday posing for photos, feasting on fruit buffet," 10 June 2018 Lastly, a hard, green stem is a sign the melon is good, while a brown stem indicates it’s likely past its prime. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "How to Pick the Perfect Melon," 3 June 2018 Woods returned and missed the putt, and then took three shots from 35 feet behind the par-5 13th green to lose another prime birdie opportunity. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "Tiger makes a Masters logjam look even larger," 13 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is what leads to a spiral into fear, isolation, and shame — feelings that prime us for depression, anxiety, and weight-cycling. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Willpower Is a Weight-Loss Scam That's Fueling the Diet Industry," 22 Feb. 2019 In a Spectre attack, the attacker will try to prime the processor to predict a certain way and then use that misprediction to leak information. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Spectre, Meltdown researchers unveil 7 more speculative execution attacks," 14 Nov. 2018 Who Hofmann decides to prime the network with could set the tone. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Byte’s creator culture will make or break Vine 2," 18 Dec. 2018 The previous speed record-holder—at least for ants—is the trap-jaw ant, which uses a combination of highly specialized muscles to prime its jaw before using a different set to snap it shut at speeds around 50 miles per hour. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Dracula Ant's Lightning Mandibles Make It the Fastest Animal in the World," 12 Dec. 2018 Did the Tamagotchi prime us to become slaves to meaningless beeping? Sarah Jeong, The Verge, "My Tamagotchi is everything that went wrong with our future," 17 June 2018 And over the last few years developer Square Enix has been attempting to prime the global market to make DQXI a hit. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Dragon Quest XI could be the one," 26 June 2018 Too bad Sum of All Fears did so little to prime the public for such debates. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Hollywood Has No Idea How Nukes Work," 2 Apr. 2018 And try to prime attendees for any special expectations right from the outset. Priya Parker, WSJ, "We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This: Tips for Better Workplace Gatherings," 4 May 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1513, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for prime

Noun

Middle English, from Old English prīm, from Latin prima hora first hour

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, feminine of prim first, from Latin primus; akin to Latin prior

Verb

probably from prime entry 1

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Statistics for prime

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prime

The first known use of prime was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for prime

prime

noun

Financial Definition of prime

What It Is

In the finance world, prime is short for prime rate, which is the interest rate commercial banks charge their most creditworthy customers, which are usually corporations.

How It Works

Anyone who has borrowed money knows that different banks charge different interest rates. So when people refer to the prime rate, they are usually referring to the average prime rate among banks. The Wall Street Journal is the most common source for this statistic. It calculates the average prime rate by surveying the 30 largest banks in the U.S. Below is a sample graph of the historical average prime rate published by the Federal Reserve, which surveys 25 banks across the nation.

In general, the rate is the same among nearly all the surveyed banks, and they tend to change their rates at the same time. When 75% of these banks (23 banks) change their rates, The Wall Street Journal changes its average.

Why It Matters

Prime is one of the most widely used market indicators, albeit a lagging one, and it is a major benchmark for mortgage and credit card rates. It is often the basis for adjustable-rate loans. For example, if a bank is offering a home equity loan at “prime plus 5” and its prime rate is 6%, then the bank is essentially offering borrowers an 11% loan (6% + 5%) whose interest rate will fluctuate with the prime rate. It is important to remember that not everyone qualifies for prime -- this rate is only for customers least likely to default.

Source: Investing Answers

prime

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prime

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the period in life when a person is best in health, strength, etc. : the most active or successful time of a person's life

prime

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prime (Entry 2 of 3)

: most important
: of the highest quality or value
used to say that someone or something is a very good example of a particular kind of person or thing

prime

verb

English Language Learners Definition of prime (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make (someone) ready to do something
: to make (something) ready for use
: to cover (a surface) with special paint in order to prepare it for the final layer of paint

prime

noun
\ ˈprīm How to pronounce prime (audio) \

Kids Definition of prime

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the period in life when a person is best in health, looks, or strength

prime

adjective

Kids Definition of prime (Entry 2 of 3)

: first in importance, rank, or quality Spring is a prime season to work outdoors.

prime

verb
primed; priming

Kids Definition of prime (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to put a first color or coating on Prime the wall before painting.
2 : to put into working order by filling prime a pump
3 : to make (someone or something) ready The coach is priming him to be quarterback.

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prime

noun

Legal Definition of prime

 (Entry 1 of 2)

primed; priming

Legal Definition of prime (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have priority over a perfected security interest primes an unperfected one

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More from Merriam-Webster on prime

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prime

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prime

Spanish Central: Translation of prime

Nglish: Translation of prime for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prime for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about prime

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