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 But mathematicians… There’s a few isolated areas of mathematics such as like, tiling, two-dimensional tiling, and maybe finding records in prime numbers. Quanta Magazine, 1 Feb. 2024 Pseudorandom properties and searches for them have all sorts of applications, from understanding prime numbers to something called quantum chaos (my pick for the area of mathematical physics that would make the best band name). Christopher Lutsko, Scientific American, 30 Jan. 2024 The one-way function for RSA works in a similar manner but relies on the multiplication and factorization of large prime numbers. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 20 Sep. 2023 Because 10 is not a prime number, such unpleasant zero divisors occur. Manon Bischoff, Scientific American, 11 Jan. 2024 The prime numbers — those divisible only by 1 and themselves — are at its core, much as DNA is core to biology. Quanta Magazine, 1 Nov. 2023 Number theorists pay particular attention to prime numbers and the subtle and beautiful ways they’re distributed among the other integers. Quanta Magazine, 23 Dec. 2023 That so many puzzles about prime numbers still remain seems astonishing—after all, several formulas for calculating prime numbers exist. Manon Bischoff, Scientific American, 16 Nov. 2023 Introduction There are three kinds of prime numbers. Quanta Magazine, 1 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prime number.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1570, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prime number was in 1570

Dictionary Entries Near prime number

Cite this Entry

“Prime number.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

prime number

: a whole number other than 0 or ±1 that is not divisible without a remainder by any other whole numbers except ±1 and ± itself

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