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 Rather than guess a prime number, the goal in Nerdle is to guess a (correct) calculation that follows standard order of operations. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 14 Feb. 2022 After an initial transmission of a prime number to mark the message as artificial, Jiang’s message uses the same alien alphabet to introduce our base-10 numeral system and basic mathematics. Daniel Oberhaus, Scientific American, 30 Mar. 2022 Rather than guess a six-letter word, the goal of Primel is to guess a five-digit prime number in just six tries. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 14 Feb. 2022 There’s a p-adic number system for each prime number: the 2-adics, the 3-adics, the 5-adics, and so on. Quanta Magazine, 7 Sep. 2021 On Prime day, addresses that contain a prime number may water. Star Tribune, 30 July 2021 But scientists still debate why this particular brood of North American cicadas only emerges every 17 years, which, intriguingly, is a prime number. Nuno Castel-branco, Scientific American, 9 July 2021 This happens every 17 years along the East Coast for Brood X of the periodical cicada, three near-identical species of an insect that has figured out that if its life cycle is linked to a prime number, few predators will co-evolve to eat it. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 Kritsky: For many years, it was believed that the long prime number life-cycle was an ideal way to stop predators and parasites intermediate stages to evolve synchrony with the cicadas. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 26 May 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of prime number

1570, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prime number

translation of Late Latin prīmus numerus, translation of Greek prôtos arithmós

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Time Traveler for prime number

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The first known use of prime number was in 1570

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Dictionary Entries Near prime number

prime mover

prime number


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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prime number.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for prime number

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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