prime number


Definition of prime number

: any integer other than 0 or ± 1 that is not divisible without remainder by any other integers except ± 1 and ± the integer itself

Examples of prime number in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Apart from some allusions to number series and prime numbers, a cryptographic puzzle, and Katherine’s obsession with the famous Riemann hypothesis, Chung doesn’t try. Julia M. Klein,, "The Catherine Chung equation: math + identity = elegant novel," 21 June 2019 Arithmetic progressions are involved in the study of prime numbers, the elusive building blocks of number theory. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Holidays Are for Counting," 5 Dec. 2018 The fact that 97 is a prime number—divisible only by 1 or itself—is supposed to make the system more secure. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "How Numbers Can Check Themselves," 20 June 2018 Wu said cybersecurity and cryptography can benefit from his work because much of it is based on prime numbers and number theory. Erin B. Logan, Washington Post, "She’s a champion science student. But she loves history. What should she do?," 6 May 2018 The hope was to hear a succession of uniform pulses or perhaps a numbering system, like a series of prime numbers. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "We Can Explore Instead of Believe: Inside the Epic Hunt for E.T.," 30 Apr. 2018 The background software running on the computer unearthed a rare kind of prime number called a Mersenne prime. Valencia Prashad, New York Times, "How a Church Deacon Found the Biggest Prime Number Yet (It Wasn’t as Hard as You Think)," 26 Jan. 2018 Ramanujan’s formulas reveal mysterious connections between pi and patterns in prime numbers — whole numbers like 2, 3, 5, and 7 that are divisible only by themselves and one. Dan Rockmore /, NBC News, "Pi Day spotlights one of math's most seductive numbers," 14 Mar. 2018 There's a new largest known prime number in town, with a whopping 23,249,425 digits. Laurel Hamers, Washington Post, "The largest known prime number has emerged. It has more than 23 million digits.," 15 Jan. 2018

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

1570, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for prime number

The first known use of prime number was in 1570

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More Definitions for prime number

prime number


English Language Learners Definition of prime number

mathematics : a number (such as 2, 3, or 5) that can only be exactly divided by itself and by 1

prime number


Kids Definition of prime number

: a number (as 2, 3, or 5) that results in a whole number from division only when it is divided by itself or by 1

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prime number

Spanish Central: Translation of prime number Encyclopedia article about prime number

Comments on prime number

What made you want to look up prime number? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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