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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Often bold and assertive, the best come across as primordial place-making exercises. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Jay DeFeo show offers a provocative sketch of a California artist finding her voice," 17 Aug. 2019 Unlike many of the album’s other classics, there’s no pointed societal message here -- the song is primordial. -- R.S. 61. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Best Songs of 1969: Staff Picks," 14 Aug. 2019 Brahms is also the primordial master of classical rock and roll, with his jagged and rhythmically obsessive power chords, and Langrée had the string section slash its way through such passages with strokes of an appropriate near-violence. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "A Revelatory Performance by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra," 31 July 2019 Light filters through the giant trees bathing the ferns and mosses below in a primordial green glow. NBC News, "Cloning giant redwoods could help combat climate change," 28 July 2019 Far from being primordial units knit together by a pre-political culture, modern nation-states are agglomerations still displaying the fault-lines of the political struggles that produced them. Daniel Luban, The New Republic, "The Man Behind National Conservatism," 26 July 2019 California condors are massive, primordial creatures. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How the California condor returned from the brink of extinction," 24 July 2019 For Florida Man to evolve from the primordial swamp-gas of the Internet, the environmental conditions had to be just right. Author: Logan Hill, Anchorage Daily News, "Is it OK to laugh at Florida Man?," 16 July 2019 The Stratemeyer Syndicate’s primordial study of the movie business reflects its peculiar, perhaps unconscious, similarity to it. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The 1914 Y.A. Novel That Provides a Fascinating Look at the Movie Industry," 10 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about primordial

Listen to Our Podcast about primordial

Statistics for primordial

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for primordial

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on primordial

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

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!