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[prahy-muh-see] /ˈpraɪ mə si/
noun, plural primacies for 2, 3.
the state of being first in order, rank, importance, etc.
Also called primateship. English Ecclesiastics. the office, rank, or dignity of a primate.
Roman Catholic Church. the jurisdiction of a bishop, as a patriarch, over other bishoprics, or the supreme jurisdiction of the pope as supreme bishop.
Origin of primacy
1350-1400; Middle English primacie < Medieval Latin prīmātia, alteration of Latin prīmātus (prīm(us) prime + -ātus -ate3); see -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for primacy
  • The nervous, intense vitality of his line took primacy over everything else.
  • The fallacy of shareholder primacy then becomes evident when customers and workers migrate to other firms following such cuts.
  • So much for the primacy of independent thought and the life of the mind.
  • If there was any boxing-in, it is perhaps due to the primacy of the military principle of chain of command.
  • The primacy of social responsibility had been replaced by the primacy of economic efficiency and the virtues of the free market.
  • Another part of the reaction was science, the systematic application of the primacy of evidence as opposed to ideas.
  • Surely all right-thinking people agree on the primacy of well-being.
  • People not of your religion now have lost equal footing, your religious belief has primacy.
  • There is a space for a fill or a roll at the end of a musical phrase, but the beat has primacy over the curlicues.
  • By hewing to this standard with literary flair and an eye as perceptive as her heart, she has established primacy in her field.
British Dictionary definitions for primacy


noun (pl) -cies
the state of being first in rank, grade, etc
(Christianity) the office, rank, or jurisdiction of a primate or senior bishop or (in the Roman Catholic Church) the pope
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for primacy

late 14c., from Old French primacie (14c., in Modern French spelled primatie) and directly from Medieval Latin primatia "office of a church primate" (late 12c.), from Late Latin primas (genitive primatis) "principal, chief, of the first rank" (see primate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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