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

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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

That's not generally the prime of a player's career, though, and there's no equating what exceptions to the rule like Lloyd and Rapinoe have been able to do with how others adjust to aging. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "What the Future Holds for USWNT's Roster Entering Olympics, 2023 Women's World Cup," 9 July 2019 Seeing Trout now is akin to seeing Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle in their primes. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Baseball’s award winners at midway point of season," 29 June 2019 While still in the prime of his career, Thomas was paralyzed in a 2000 car crash. Chris Chase, For The Win, "From JJ Watt to Dan Marino: Best all-time first round draft picks for each AFC team," 7 Mar. 2018 And for high-end street photography, there’s an F/1.4 50mm prime, also certified by Leica but lacking OIS. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Panasonic Lumix S1 review: the mirrorless heavyweight," 18 June 2019 Several good players are entering the primes of their careers — end Danielle Hunter, defensive backs Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith, linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. John Shipley, Twin Cities, "After disappointing season, Vikings’ Mike Zimmer went to the woodshed," 7 June 2019 Teams sniffing around are finding the asking price is high for a prime-aged skater. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, "Trading expected to be heavy by NHL’s Feb. 26 deadline," 9 Feb. 2018 Lillard is 27 and entering the prime of his career. Tim Brown, OregonLive.com, "Do Neil Olshey and the Portland Trail Blazers need to make a deal before the NBA trade deadline?," 7 Feb. 2018 The Grand National is a prime stepping stone to the $100,000 Hunt Cup, which will be run next Saturday in Glyndon. Sun Staff Reports, baltimoresun.com, "Senior Senator repeats as Grand National steeplechase champion," 21 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Music happens three nights a week, but on the early side, the revelry subsiding just as prime dining time rolls around. Rand Richards Cooper, courant.com, "Review: M/BAR in Mystic turns out premium eats and brims with brashness and flair," 12 July 2019 The Pentagon has repeatedly defended its bidding process, though the concerns have trickled into Congress and onto prime-time TV. Matt O'brien, The Denver Post, "Amazon, Microsoft wage war over the Pentagon’s “war cloud”," 9 July 2019 One led to a prime opportunity for the team, giving it runners on second and third with one out in the seventh instead of a runner on second with two outs. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Twins hang on for tense 12-inning win," 4 July 2019 That’s just prime opportunity for somebody to close that gap. Andrew Blum, Time, "Inside the Weather Wars That May Threaten the Daily Forecast You Depend On," 27 June 2019 Fatherhood, another big commitment, doesn’t allow for down time of this nature, which makes Father’s Day a prime opportunity to give the dads in our lives the gift of barbecue. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Committed to BBQ: Orlando area barbecue champs share stories of smoke and glory," 13 June 2019 The Giants wasted a prime opportunity to score on Hill in the fifth, loading the bases with no one out on a single by Brandon Belt, a single by Longoria and a walk to Austin. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Dodgers break it open in eighth inning to beat Giants," 8 June 2019 March 27 The waning crescent moon will pair up with brilliant Jupiter at dawn on the 27th, offering a prime opportunity to get to know the largest planet in the solar system. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "Equinox supermoon, and more can't-miss sky shows in March," 1 Mar. 2019 Now that Nolan is leaving, Republicans see a prime opportunity to win back control of a district Cook rates R+4. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Live results for Minnesota primary elections," 14 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Who Hofmann decides to prime the network with could set the tone. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Byte’s creator culture will make or break Vine 2," 18 Dec. 2018 The previous speed record-holder—at least for ants—is the trap-jaw ant, which uses a combination of highly specialized muscles to prime its jaw before using a different set to snap it shut at speeds around 50 miles per hour. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Dracula Ant's Lightning Mandibles Make It the Fastest Animal in the World," 12 Dec. 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

15 Jul 2019

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 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.

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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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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

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