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

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 Its economic and cultural prime, so the narrative goes, was in the past century, when prosperity undergird the founding of cultural institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and the internationally renowned Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. cleveland, "Twelve Literary Arts taps power of poetry to heal, celebrate communities of color: Cleveland Champions," 29 Nov. 2019 Well, that's debatable, especially given James' prime is a pretty high bar to clear. Evan Hilbert, USA TODAY, "'Mom's always got jokes': These stories will make your Monday better," 12 Nov. 2019 Although 2020 is not a prime number, it is precisely sandwiched between 2017 and 2027, both primes. Maria Shine Stewart, cleveland, "Memories, music and movement: Sun Messages," 22 Dec. 2019 Outside linebacker Matthew Judon looked like a prime Terrell Suggs with a strip-sack to set up the Ravens’ first touchdown drive and a tackle for loss on an Allen pass to the flat. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Five Things We Learned from the Ravens’ 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills," 9 Dec. 2019 The uptick makes sense: Ground shaking presumably primes the slopes to give way. Katherine Kornei, Science | AAAS, "A massive experiment in Taiwan aims to reveal landslides’ surprising effect on the climate," 20 Nov. 2019 But the schedule makers are hoping coach Freddie Kitchens, quarterback Baker Mayfield and receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., start well enough to justify this prime late-afternoon kickoff against Tom Terrific and Co. 5. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "A look at the top 10 games of the 2019 NFL season," 4 Sep. 2019 Large semiprimes used in the RSA 2048-bit algorithm are so difficult to factor that no computer, quantum or digital, has yet been able to crack the primes they are made from to extract the keys. Wired, "Alleged 'Snake Oil' Crypto Firm Sues Over Boos at Black Hat," 24 Aug. 2019 Large semiprimes used in the RSA 2048-bit algorithm are so difficult to factor that no computer, quantum or digital, has yet been able to crack the primes they are made from to extract the keys. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Alleged “snake oil” crypto company sues over boos at Black Hat [Updated]," 23 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Safety Antoine Bethea and linebacker Alec Ogletree are past their prime. Tom Canavan, Houston Chronicle, "Giants fire coach Pat Shurmur, keep GM Dave Gettleman," 30 Dec. 2019 The rise and fall of quiz shows Between 1955 and 1959, America’s prime-time television schedule became dominated by quiz shows. Michael J. Socolow, The Conversation, "Think presidential debates are dull? Thank 1950s TV game shows," 17 Dec. 2019 Both founders are leaving Alphabet when Google is in its prime, and with several moonshots still in development. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "5 CEO Exits That Sum Up the Memorable Business Year That was 2019," 19 Dec. 2019 At his best, while equipped with a budding Paul George and role players hitting their prime, Vogel's teams could challenge LeBron James’ Heat and Cavaliers squads as well as anyone not named Golden State. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Frank Vogel returns to Indiana with Lakers as class of the NBA, despite rocky couple years," 18 Dec. 2019 Christmas albums tend to be legacy projects, but Carey was in her prime. Emily Lordi, The New Yorker, "Mariah Carey’s Christmas Miracle," 17 Dec. 2019 Pete Hill, a star outfielder in his prime, was finally inducted in 2006. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With ex-Brewers catcher Ted Simmons heading into the Baseball Hall of Fame, check out all the Wisconsin connections in Cooperstown," 9 Dec. 2019 And with great players in their prime like Carlos Vela starting to find a home in MLS, the soccer world is beginning to take notice. Graham Hill, CNN, "Alexi Lalas praises "cruel, but not unfair" MLS Playoffs," 23 Nov. 2019 There is not video of Thato in his prime, but Napo has heard plenty of legends. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "From Lesotho to Louisville: LouCity FC midfielder Napo Matsoso finds 2nd home in Kentucky," 16 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the idea is to prime her body to perform like an athlete's night in and night out. Claire Gillespie, Health.com, "Lady Gaga Shares Nude Photo in an Ice Bath for Her 'Post-Show Routine'—But Can That Really Help Recovery?," 18 Oct. 2019 How to Paint Wood Furniture First, prime your piece. Chelsea Evers, Country Living, "How to Paint Furniture, From Dressers to Desks and Beyond," 12 Dec. 2019 This aging process affords time for flavors to flow into every corner of the mix and for the fat, protein and carb mixture to prime itself for churning. Ali Bouzari, SFChronicle.com, "The molecular science behind a Larkspur shop’s blueberry ice cream," 27 Sep. 2019 Taking five minutes to prime your muscles for the work ahead is essential. SELF, "Final Strength Push, Plus 4-Minute Finisher," 28 Apr. 2019 Those include nicotine addiction, which can both affect memory and impulse control and can prime the brain for addiction to other substances. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "FDA launches TV ads featuring magician to fight teen vaping," 23 July 2019 Darden had grown up helping her father change tires on the family car and prime the carburetor. Los Angeles Times, "How the women of NASA made their mark on the space program," 16 July 2019 To prime the pump closer to home, two leading scholars on the issue are going to hash it out in Steamboat this summer. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "The Spot: What the heck does “local control” even mean?," 6 June 2019 As public outcry mounts over companies like Facebook collecting and selling user information, the new proposal would prime courts and legislatures to give businesses even more power to extract data from unwitting consumers. Ian Macdougall, ProPublica, "Soon You May Not Even Have to Click on a Website Contract to Be Bound by Its Terms," 20 May 2019

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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Time Traveler for prime

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prime

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prime.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prime. Accessed 27 January 2020.

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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
How to pronounce prime (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prime

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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