prim

verb
\ ˈprim How to pronounce prim (audio) \
primmed; primming

Definition of prim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to give a prim or demure expression to primming her thin lips after every mouthful— John Buchan
2 : to dress primly

prim

adjective
primmer; primmest

Definition of prim (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : stiffly formal and proper : decorous
b : prudish
2 : neat, trim prim hedges

Definition of prim (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from prim

Adjective

primly adverb
primness noun

Examples of prim in a Sentence

Adjective He has prim views on religion. Her aunts were very prim and proper.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Bailey’s proud refusal to seem prim or judgmental blossoms into a troubling tendency to join the fray. New York Times, "In ‘Philip Roth,’ a Life of the Literary Master as Aggrieved Playboy," 29 Mar. 2021 For the virtual call, Duchess Kate wore a prim, black and white, polka dot blouse with her hair pulled back in a chic half ponytail and silver double hoop earrings. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Wears Polka Dots for a Call with a U.K. Family About Mental Health," 5 Mar. 2021 She was previously photographed in standout looks including a striking leopard-print caftan from Celine and a classic camel Max Mara coat with prim white gloves. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Wears a White Suit and Some Serious Platform Heels in Rome," 4 Mar. 2021 Real danger for an overgrown street kid like Nicky comes in early daylight, in a prim and exclusive residential suburb, where Mikey has sold Nicky out and sold out at large. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "The 101 Greatest Endings in Movies History," 22 Feb. 2021 Those of us who grew up on a steady diet of Disney movies knew which characters we were supposed to root for: the prim, pretty, cookie-cutter princess types whose traditional appearances and demure, doe-like behavior signaled their heroine status. Emily Ruane, refinery29.com, "Heidi Klum Launched Disney Villains’ Merch On Amazon — & It’s A Mood," 3 Dec. 2020 Glenda, who is 68 and has lived at Bronxwood for over seven years, wears square transition lenses and tucks her gray hair into a prim, low bun. Ava Kofman, ProPublica, "“We Don’t Even Know Who Is Dead or Alive”: Trapped Inside an Assisted Living Facility During the Pandemic," 30 Nov. 2020 The courtroom is a stage, and the judge has planned for the play to be a prim farce. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Sensuality and Brutality of Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe”," 23 Nov. 2020 Ashley, meanwhile, excels as her more prim counterpart, and both mug expertly for the camera. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "The Olsen Twins’ It Takes Two Is More Radical Than You Remember," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prim.' 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 prim

Verb

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1702, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for prim

Verb

earlier as intransitive verb, "to assume a formal or demure air," of obscure origin

Note: First attested in the comedies of Thomas d'urfey, as Fool's Preferment (1688) and The Marriage-Hater Match'd (1692). Akin in sense to primp, attested earlier, though the verb as well as the adjective primp "(of the mouth) pursed, primly set" are nearly exclusive to Scots and American English.

Adjective

derivative of or akin to prim entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Prim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prim. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for prim

prim

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prim

: very formal and proper
: easily shocked or upset by rude behavior, comments, etc.
: very neat in appearance

prim

adjective
\ ˈprim How to pronounce prim (audio) \
primmer; primmest

Kids Definition of prim

: very formal and proper

Other Words from prim

primly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on prim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prim

Nglish: Translation of prim for Spanish Speakers

Comments on prim

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