primordial

play
adjective pri·mor·di·al \ prī-ˈmȯr-dē-əl \

Definition of primordial

1 a :first created or developed :primeval 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

primordially

play \-dē-ə-lē\ adverb

primordial was our Word of the Day on 04/22/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of primordial in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of primordial from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of primordial

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


PRIMORDIAL Defined for English Language Learners

primordial

play
adjective

Definition of primordial for English Language Learners

  • : existing from the beginning of time : very ancient


Medical Dictionary

primordial

play
adjective pri·mor·di·al \ prī-ˈmȯrd-ē-əl \

medical Definition of primordial

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


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