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
6 : stimulate

intransitive verb

: to become prime
prime the pump
: to take steps to encourage the growth or functioning of something

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sciorra was one of the career victims of Harvey Weinstein’s predatory, vindictive influence in the insidious prime of that mogul’s reign. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Kitchen’ review: Married to the mob. Husbands behind bars. Women rule. Corpses pile up.," 7 Aug. 2019 In the prime of his career and rejuvenated by the switch from cornerback to his more natural free safety position, Randall played nearly at a Pro Bowl level. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Damarious Randall would love to finish his career with the Browns but ‘business is business’," 26 July 2019 The prime of professional athletes' careers doesn't last forever, but there are many examples of those who have defied age and performed well later in their careers. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Top 16 athletes over 35 of all-time: From Tom Brady to Serena Williams to Gordie Howe," 17 July 2019 Or that the share of 25- to 54-year-olds who should be in the prime of their working years and are in fact working didn’t improve either last month, and hasn’t for the past seven now. Matt O'brien, Washington Post, "It’s time to start worrying about the economy," 7 June 2019 Along with Johnson, drivers such as Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski are all former champions who are still in the primes of their careers. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "How will NASCAR replace stars like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick? | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 15 Feb. 2018 Take a look at Kevin Love (below), 30 years old and in the prime of his NBA life. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Online app that can age a face instantly even makes a geezer of Steph Curry," 16 July 2019 Leonard and George are in the primes of their careers and create perhaps the best all-round tandem in the NBA when healthy, and each has parachuted into a new team and found immediate success. Andrew Greif, latimes.com, "Clippers, with biggest moves made, bring back key piece from last season," 8 July 2019 Now in the prime of his career at 29, winning will be at the top of Walker's list of priorities. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "NBA free agency: Kemba Walker's top five landing spots," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And the corner of Seventh and Market streets is a prime one. Carl Nolte, SFChronicle.com, "Near civic wonders, drugs a constant scourge," 10 Aug. 2019 Earnhardt is also optimistic about Michigan's prime driver, Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. says sport's popularity will come back — with patience," 10 Aug. 2019 Take two Sapphire Bay marks Rowlett’s second official stab at the project, which the kentcity has long eyed for the prime tract of land on a peninsula jutting out on Lake Ray Hubbard. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Surf’s up: Wave pool, Crystal Lagoon among plans unveiled at town hall for new $1B Rowlett development," 9 Aug. 2019 But Cohn noted that a boom of luxury high-rises, an upcoming U.C. San Diego campus, and plans for a swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel, high-end grocery store and retail, are transforming the East Village into a bustling neighborhood and a prime destination. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A star chef’s tortured, year-long quest for the perfect restaurant location ends in the East Village," 9 Aug. 2019 The audience at Def Con is a prime one for the DNC's warning. Donie O'sullivan, CNN, "The Democratic Party deepfaked its own chairman to highlight 2020 concerns," 9 Aug. 2019 Did any club make enough moves to be the favorite next season, or will Manchester City stay in prime position to win its third-straight Premier League title? Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Premier League Transfer Deadline Day: Recapping the Major Moves," 8 Aug. 2019 Barrett said Milwaukee World Festival is renting what is likely the most valuable property in the state, so rent would be expected for such a prime location. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Barrett calls for Summerfest to pay full security costs of multi-day event," 8 Aug. 2019 Although Jonas seems to be wearing a tee with a more recent photo of the boys, Chopra and Turner donned more vintage shirts, flashing photos of the bros in their prime Disney days. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Priyanka Chopra, Sophie Turner and Danielle Jonas Show Off Throwback Tees for the Jonas Brothers Tour," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Some of these mutations made the bacteria resistant to antibiotics, suggesting that exposure to a low dose of one antibiotic could prime bacteria to evolve resistance to other antibiotics as well. Quanta Magazine, "Under Pressure, Does Evolution Evolve?," 15 Jan. 2014 Going for prolonged periods without eating can also prime you to overeat, creating a cycle that’s difficult to get out of because fasting can mess with our body’s hunger cues and metabolism. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "What Is the 5:2 Diet, Jimmy Kimmel's Intense Weight-Loss Method?," 13 May 2019 This is what leads to a spiral into fear, isolation, and shame — feelings that prime us for depression, anxiety, and weight-cycling. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Willpower Is a Weight-Loss Scam That's Fueling the Diet Industry," 22 Feb. 2019 In a Spectre attack, the attacker will try to prime the processor to predict a certain way and then use that misprediction to leak information. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Spectre, Meltdown researchers unveil 7 more speculative execution attacks," 14 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prime

Statistics for prime

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prime

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on prime

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prime

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on prime

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!