prime

noun
\ˈprīm \

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

Harper turns 26 in October, putting the prime of his career on the free agent market. Tom Verducci, SI.com, "Nine Innings: How Bryce Harper Is Trying to Revive His Season, What We Learned in the First Half and More," 9 July 2018 The knee-jerk public reaction from Warriors’ lovers and haters is clear: The team just became unbeatable, with a starting lineup featuring five All-Stars in their primes (Stephen Curry, 30, is the old man). Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "With ‘Boogie,’ Warriors shoot into ‘death zone’," 9 July 2018 On the other hand, Byfuglien remains a force at 33, and at 27 Leddy is speeding into the prime of his career. Jimmy Greenfield, chicagotribune.com, "Current Hawks vs. former Hawks: Which team is better?," 6 July 2018 Canadian prime minster Justin Trudeau tweeted an expression of sorrow for what happened in Annapolis, with a brief explainer on what journalists do. Claire Atkinson, NBC News, "Capital Gazette covers its own terrible news," 29 June 2018 The Warriors two MVPs are in their primes, and there’s no reason to think the Warriors’ juggernaut is going to slow down anytime soon. Langston Wertz Jr., charlotteobserver, "It’s a sweep! Golden State brushes away LeBron, Cavs in NBA Finals. Social media reacts," 8 June 2018 As James closes in on the prime of his career, the debate over who is the greatest ever picks up velocity. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Michael Jordan's mystique clouds our memories: LeBron is the G.O.A.T," 29 May 2018 The conversations among the primes and others ultimately speak to the mysteries of human identity, and to the limits of what technology can replace. Mitchel Benson, sacbee, "Memory, identity and holograms converge in Cap Stage's 'Marjorie Prime' | The Sacramento Bee," 10 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, For The Win, "Picking every MLB division, award, and playoff series winner for 2018," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

One prime example is the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Jihadi-Salafi network whose members were responsible for some of Indonesia’s most notorious terrorist attacks, including the 2000 Christmas Eve bombings and the 2002 Bali bombing. Julie Chernov Hwang, Washington Post, "New research shows why terrorists quit terrorism," 12 July 2018 Chayka said that the Golden Knights were a prime example of how certain players, when given a bigger opportunity, can transform their game and blossom into highly effective pieces. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes complete seven-player deal with Chicago Blackhawks," 12 July 2018 Lopez’s growth and inclusion in the rotation is a prime example of what this Marlins season is all about: the future. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "A Closer Look: Milwaukee Brewers 8, Miami Marlins 4," 11 July 2018 Caffeine is a prime example, though hardly a new one. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "Here’s What We Know About Mental Fatigue," 10 July 2018 Ritchie is a prime example of that, and one that is far less of a gamble than most. SI.com, "Newcastle's Matt Ritchie Open to Stoke City Move on One Condition," 8 July 2018 The church’s teaching on the Eucharist is a prime example. WSJ, "For Catholics, Communion Comes With Limits," 6 July 2018 The neighborhood is also a prime example of the types of economic development that can follow when golf course land turns over. Kate Talerico, The Courier-Journal, "Going out of business, golf courses become prime redevelopment targets," 5 July 2018 Facebook, still reeling from the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, is the prime example of that right now, and employees of other tech giants are clearly starting to see the problems within their own companies, too. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Salesforce employees ask CEO to ‘re-examine’ contract with border protection agency," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 In fact, Camp is giving away free money to prime the pump. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Uber Creator Invents New Cryptocurrency—And Wants Your Help Making It Reality," 1 Mar. 2018 This will prevent one process from being able to prime the branch predictor used by another, which should curtail, if not outright eliminate, the Spectre branch prediction attack. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Meltdown and Spectre: Here’s what Intel, Apple, Microsoft, others are doing about it," 5 Jan. 2018 Who would have thought a predilection for IPA might prime the male palate for Prosecco? Lettie Teague, WSJ, "How Italy’s Favorite Bubbly Beguiled Us," 9 Mar. 2018 But chocolate isn't the only food that can prime you physically or mentally for a bedroom session. Julia Naftulin, Health.com, "6 Foods to Eat If You Want to Feel Sexier (And Who Doesn't?!)," 2 Feb. 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

4 Nov 2018

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 \

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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