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

Twins — Minnesota hasn’t won 90 or more games since 2010, when Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were in their primes. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Red Sox among teams with something to play for in September," 31 Aug. 2019 In their primes, Woods and Williams were otherworldly, seemingly dropped on Earth to show us how to play their sports. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Tiger and Serena Confront Twilight and Aching Backs," 14 Aug. 2019 In his prime, a 6-6 Barkley weighed around 250 pounds. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Charles Barkley: Zion Williamson isn't fat but 'can't play at that weight'," 17 July 2019 When the wind sweeps the broad forest in its summer prime, as when some master-hand exulting sweeps the keys of some great organ, ye give forth the music of the woodland depths, a hymn of gladness and of thanks. courant.com, "Sunday’s forecast: seek out some shade," 14 July 2019 These smart watches are great for the active man in your life—or can encourage some activity from a dad past his athletic prime. Simona Matovic, oregonlive, "There’s still time to give Dad the gift of time | Watches for Father’s Day under $275," 11 June 2019 The Texans continue to squander J.J. Watt’s prime and the start of Watson’s best years. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "AFC Preview: Patriots still have Tom Brady, but conference could go through Chiefs or Chargers," 5 Sep. 2019 By 2030, 45% of prime working age women in the United States will be single. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "August was a month to forget for investors. September may be little better," 30 Aug. 2019 There has been a great deal of work in mathematics and cryptanalysis around the RSA algorithm's use of primes. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Snake oil or genius? Crown Sterling tells its side of Black Hat controversy," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

UP NEXT Browns: host the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday night in their second straight prime-time game. oregonlive, "Odell Beckham, Jr. powers the Cleveland Browns to the win over the New York Jets: Recap, score, stats and more," 16 Sep. 2019 By partnering with Roc Nation, Megan joins a loaded roster of prime-time acts, which boasts Rihanna, Meek Mill, Big Sean, and more. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Megan Thee Stallion Signs Roc Nation Management Deal," 13 Sep. 2019 The nearby planet, which orbits a red dwarf star about 110 light-years from Earth, has been considered a prime candidate to look for liquid water. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Hints of rain clouds found on small alien world," 11 Sep. 2019 Bryant and McClatcher — both missed most of last year with injuries — are prime candidates to fill that role. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Saturday Night Five: Oregon buckles in the fourth, USC tries to lose but fails, Washington rolls and injuries mount," 1 Sep. 2019 But the parties’ ideological differences make this hard, says Bernadett Szel, the LMP party’s prime ministerial candidate in 2018. The Economist, "How Viktor Orban hollowed out Hungary’s democracy," 29 Aug. 2019 That won’t change, meaning someone — Watkins is a prime candidate — will have to take over at strong safety on those snaps. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Chargers believe they’re covered with Adrian Phillips at safety in place of Derwin James," 20 Aug. 2019 That little tidbit — and his father’s deep investment connections — make Paulson the prime candidate to someday lead a group into the purchase of Trail Blazers Inc. John Canzano, oregonlive.com, "John Canzano’s Top 25 most influential people in Oregon sports for 2019," 17 Aug. 2019 Three 2018 signees — Anthony Cook, Jalen Green and D’Shawn Jamison — are the prime candidates. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Excitement abounds for Texas as practice begins," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Taking five minutes to prime your muscles for the work ahead is essential. SELF, "Final Strength Push, Plus 4-Minute Finisher," 28 Apr. 2019 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

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

7 Oct 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

Comments on prime

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