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

The 33-year-old James has taken on the challenge that Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal all accepted near the primes of their careers. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "LeBron’s arrival transforms Lakers back into glamour show," 3 July 2018 And the Boomers, as seen in the very label classic applying to the soundtrack of their primes, have excelled at overlaying the mantle of myth on stories whose ink was still drying. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Was Classic Rock a Sound, or a Tribe?," 28 May 2018 The prime of Johnson’s career roughly corresponded with what was probably the nadir of civil rights in America in the post-Civil War years. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Donald Trump’s posthumous pardon of boxing champion Jack Johnson, explained," 24 May 2018 Consider this: Booker will be only 27 years old – and likely in the prime of his career - when his deal expires following the 2023-2024 season. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Suns, Devin Booker both benefit from five-year, $158 million deal," 8 July 2018 Jed Lowrie’s career revival — 3.1 WAR, 14 HRs, 59 RBIs — would register a tick higher if the reigning World Champ’s second baseman wasn’t in the prime of his career. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Picking Padres' All-Star, and many others," 6 July 2018 In his prime, his teardrop shot, hesitation dribble and spin move were all lethal. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Parker’s fearless drives won’t be forgotten," 6 July 2018 Florence today gets the kind of rave reviews Slater did in his unbeatable prime. Matt Warshaw, Outside Online, "The Dominance of Kelly Slater," 5 July 2018 The prospects who might be available in a trade could be approaching their primes. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Here's why the Royals should at least be open to trading Salvador Perez," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The president revealed his choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in a prime-time announcement July 9. Dana Blanton, Fox News, "Fox News Poll: Jury's out on Kavanaugh, voters want Senate vote before midterms," 13 July 2018 The intrigue surrounding the selection was, of course, classic Trump, from an interview process that resembled a matchmaking show to the pageantry of the prime-time announcement. Brian Bennett, Time, "How Brett Kavanaugh Could Change the Supreme Court—and America," 12 July 2018 The final matches will be shown live on ESPN2, marking the first-ever live prime-time showing of a Special Olympics Unified Sports competition. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Naperville athletes to share international stage at Special Olympics soccer competition," 12 July 2018 Intentionally or not, the Trump administration sowed uncertainty by asking all four finalists to prepare for Monday's prime-time ceremony. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "How a behind-the-scenes battle of Trump advisers ended with Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick," 10 July 2018 The rally, featuring nearly 15 advocacy and grassroots groups from across the state, was coordinated ahead of Trump’s prime-time announcement Monday. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "Abortion, Women's Rights Activists Rally In New Haven Against Supreme Court Nominee," 10 July 2018 The prime-time announcement required Mr. Trump to set aside misgivings about Judge Kavanaugh’s ties to the George W. Bush administration that Mr. Trump has frequently criticized, according to people familiar with the process. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "President Trump Chooses Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Vacancy," 10 July 2018 With customary fanfare, Trump planned to unveil his choice on prime-time TV. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump picks Kavanaugh for Supreme Court," 10 July 2018 The drama-focused president revealed his choice for the seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement in a prime-time TV address to the country. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Investing in vapor wares like Juul could be lucrative. But some Silicon Valley VCs draw the line at vice.," 10 July 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

12 Aug 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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Comments on prime

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