first; original; primeval: primal eras before the appearance of life on earth.
of first importance; fundamental: the primal resources of a nation.

1535–45; < Medieval Latin prīmālis. See prime, -al1

nonprimal, adjective

primal, primeval, primordial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
primal (ˈpraɪməl)
1.  first or original
2.  chief or most important
[C17: from Medieval Latin prīmālis, from Latin prīmus first]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1600, "belonging to the earliest age," from M.L. primalis "primary" (late 15c.), from L. primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). Psychological sense, in ref. to Freud's theory of behaviors springing from the earliest stage of emotional development, is attested from 1918.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

primal pri·mal (prī'məl)

  1. Being first in time; original.

  2. Of first or central importance; primary.

pri·mal'i·ty (-māl'ĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
His specialty is taking a primal wish of kids, transporting them to a
  fantasyland and then marooning them there.
Many angry, disappointed academic newbies have the same primal response.
It is also an example of what seems to be a primal human interaction-the mutual
  direction of gaze.
The airborne combat between bat and mantis is primal.
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