primum mobile


pri·​mum mo·​bi·​le ˈprī-məm-ˈmō-bə-lē How to pronounce primum mobile (audio)
plural primum mobiles
: the outermost concentric sphere conceived in medieval astronomy as carrying the spheres of the fixed stars and the planets in its daily revolution

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Medieval Latin prīmum mōbile, literally, "first moving thing" (as translation of Arabic al-muḥarrik al-awwal) from Latin prīmum, neuter of prīmus "first, earliest" + Medieval Latin mōbile, noun derivative from neuter of Latin mōbilis "moving quickly, shifting" — more at prime entry 2, mobile entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of primum mobile was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near primum mobile

Cite this Entry

“Primum mobile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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