primordial

adjective
pri·​mor·​di·​al | \ prī-ˈmȯr-dē-əl How to pronounce primordial (audio) \

Definition of primordial

1a : first created or developed : primeval sense 1
b : existing in or persisting from the beginning (as of a solar system or universe) a primordial gas cloud
c : earliest formed in the growth of an individual or organ : primitive primordial cells
2 : fundamental, primary primordial human joys— Sir Winston Churchill

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Other Words from primordial

primordially \ prī-​ˈmȯr-​dē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce primordially (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for primordial

Synonyms

ancient, early, primal, primeval, primitive

Antonyms

late

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Did You Know?

The history of "primordial" began when the Latin words primus (meaning "first") and "ordiri" (meaning "to begin") came together to form "primordium," the Latin word for "origin." When it entered English in the 14th century, "primordial" was used in the general sense "primeval." Early on, there were hints that "primordial" would lend itself well to discussions of the earth's origins. Take, for instance, this passage from a 1398 translation of an encyclopedia called On the Properties of Things: "The virtu of God made primordial mater, in the whiche as it were in massy thinge the foure elementis were . . . nought distinguishd." Nowadays, primordial matter is often referred to in evolutionary theory as "primordial soup," a mixture of organic molecules from which life on earth originated.

Examples of primordial in a Sentence

all life on Earth supposedly came from a primordial ooze in existence many millions of years ago

Recent Examples on the Web

Perhaps the most sumptuous means to explore Komodo’s primordial beauty is aboard the new Prana by Atzaro, a nine-suite, swashbuckler-style megayacht designed in homage of ancient Indonesian boat-making with five-star boutique comfort in mind. Travis Levius, Vogue, "Chasing Komodo Dragons on Indonesia’s Latest Super Yacht," 26 Apr. 2019 Telescopes such as the LOFAR aim to detect the ancient signal and use it to map the distribution of primordial matter. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "China’s moon mission will probe cosmic dark ages," 16 May 2018 As loggers have cut and cleared the forests the caribou need to survive, the last mountain caribou in Washington are being pushed out of their primordial habitat. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "David Moskowitz captures the beauty — and fragility — of the Northwest’s mountain caribou," 11 Feb. 2019 In nature, they're formed from primordial germ cells and can be seen as precursors to egg cells. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Take Major Step Towards Making Babies From Skin Cells," 21 Sep. 2018 The researchers expect that, within five years, primordial gravitational waves will be detected. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Inflation theories must dig deeper to avoid collision with data," 6 Dec. 2018 Roughly 5,000 years old, Newgrange symbolizes, as Mr. MacGregor notes, primordial religion’s sponsorship of technological expertise. Andrew Stark, WSJ, "‘Living With the Gods’ Review: The Gang’s All Here," 16 Nov. 2018 With a diameter of about 3,000 feet (900 meters), Ryugu is one of 17,000 known near-Earth asteroids, and it's made up of some of the most primordial material in the solar system. Megan Gannon, Space.com, "'Crazy' Rocky Surface of Asteroid Ryugu Revealed in MASCOT Lander Images," 13 Oct. 2018 So far, though, the scientists have yet to discover the primordial drawing tool itself. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Is This the World’s Oldest Hashtag?," 12 Sep. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for primordial

Middle English, from Late Latin primordialis, from Latin primordium origin, from primus first + ordiri to begin — more at prime, order

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Last Updated

7 May 2019

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Time Traveler for primordial

The first known use of primordial was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for primordial

primordial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of primordial

formal : existing from the beginning of time : very ancient

primordial

adjective
pri·​mor·​di·​al | \ prī-ˈmȯrd-ē-əl How to pronounce primordial (audio) \

Medical Definition of primordial

: earliest formed in the growth of an individual or organ : primitive the primordial skeleton

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