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primary

[prahy-mer-ee, -muh-ree] /ˈpraɪ mɛr i, -mə ri/
adjective
1.
first or highest in rank or importance; chief; principal:
his primary goals in life.
2.
first in order in any series, sequence, etc.
3.
first in time; earliest; primitive.
4.
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of primary school:
the primary grades.
5.
constituting or belonging to the first stage in any process.
6.
of the nature of the ultimate or simpler constituents of which something complex is made up:
Animals have a few primary instincts.
7.
  1. original; not derived or subordinate; fundamental; basic.
  2. (in scholarly studies) pertaining to or being a firsthand account, original data, etc., or based on direct knowledge, as in primary source; primary research.
8.
immediate or direct, or not involving intermediate agency:
primary perceptions.
9.
Sociology. (of social values or ideals) conceived as derived from the primary group and culturally defined as being necessary to the welfare of the individual and society.
10.
Ornithology. pertaining to any of the set of flight feathers situated on the distal segment of a bird's wing.
11.
Electricity. noting or pertaining to the circuit, coil, winding, or current that induces current in secondary windings in an induction coil, transformer, or the like.
12.
Chemistry.
  1. involving or obtained by replacement of one atom or group.
  2. noting or containing a carbon atom united to no other or to only one other carbon atom in a molecule.
13.
Grammar.
  1. (of a derivative) having a root or other unanalyzable element as the underlying form.
  2. (of Latin, Greek, Sanskrit tenses) having reference to present or future time.
    Compare secondary (def 9).
noun, plural primaries.
14.
something that is first in order, rank, or importance.
15.
U.S. Politics.
  1. Also called primary election. a preliminary election in which voters of each party nominate candidates for office, party officers, etc.
  2. a meeting of the voters of a political party in an election district for nominating candidates for office, choosing delegates for a convention, etc.; caucus.
17.
Ornithology. a primary feather.
18.
Electricity. a winding in a transformer or the like that carries a current and that induces a current in secondary windings.
19.
Astronomy.
  1. a body in relation to a smaller body or smaller bodies revolving around it, as a planet in relation to its satellites.
  2. the brighter of the two stars comprising a double star.
    Compare companion1 (def 6).
Origin
late Middle English
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English (adj.) < Latin prīmārius of the first rank. See prime, -ary
Related forms
primariness, noun
postprimary, adjective
subprimary, adjective
Synonyms
1. main, prime. 3. original; primeval. 5. beginning, opening. See elementary.
Antonyms
1, 2. last. 2. final.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for primary
  • Suppose you have six primary devices, each serving a different function.
  • But that's not our primary purpose here.
  • Your primary goal should be to create some visual separation.
  • So, the primary purpose was communication, even though beauty is figured in.
  • Intensify a primary flavor: dust roasted fennel with ground fennel seeds.
  • And I love the fact that the shades come in different primary colors.
  • There are 33 delegates at stake in the state's primary.
  • Steps have never been his primary interest anyway, in part because he came to dance far too late to master them.
  • Their primary travel focus is on hotel and resort accommodations.
  • Each secondary lobule is composed of several primary lobules, the anatomical units of the lung.
British Dictionary definitions for primary

primary

/ˈpraɪmərɪ/
adjective
1.
first in importance, degree, rank, etc
2.
first in position or time, as in a series
3.
fundamental; basic
4.
being the first stage; elementary
5.
(prenominal) of or relating to the education of children up to the age of 11
6.
(of the flight feathers of a bird's wing) growing from the manus
7.
  1. being the part of an electric circuit, such as a transformer or induction coil, in which a changing current induces a current in a neighbouring circuit: a primary coil
  2. (of a current) flowing in such a circuit Compare secondary
8.
  1. (of a product) consisting of a natural raw material; unmanufactured
  2. (of production or industry) involving the extraction or winning of such products. Agriculture, fishing, forestry, hunting, and mining are primary industries Compare secondary (sense 7), tertiary (sense 3)
9.
(chem)
  1. (of an organic compound) having a functional group attached to a carbon atom that is attached to at least two hydrogen atoms
  2. (of an amine) having only one organic group attached to the nitrogen atom; containing the group NH2
  3. (of a salt) derived from a tribasic acid by replacement of one acidic hydrogen atom with a metal atom or electropositive group
10.
(linguistics)
  1. derived from a word that is not a derivation but the ultimate form itself. Lovable is a primary derivative of love
  2. (of Latin, Greek, or Sanskrit tenses) referring to present or future time Compare historic (sense 3)
11.
(geology) relating to magmas that have not experienced fractional crystallization or crystal contamination
noun (pl) -ries
12.
a person or thing that is first in rank, occurrence, etc
13.
(in the US)
  1. a preliminary election in which the voters of a state or region choose a party's convention delegates, nominees for office, etc See also closed primary, direct primary, open primary
  2. a local meeting of voters registered with one party to nominate candidates, select convention delegates, etc
Full name primary election
14.
15.
any of the flight feathers growing from the manus of a bird's wing
16.
a primary coil, winding, inductance, or current in an electric circuit
17.
(astronomy) a celestial body around which one or more specified secondary bodies orbit: the sun is the primary of the earth
Word Origin
C15: from Latin prīmārius of the first rank, principal, from prīmus first
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 primary
adj.

early 15c., "of the first order," from Latin primarius "of the first rank, chief, principal, excellent," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). Meaning "first in order" is from 1802. Primary color is first recorded 1610s (at first the seven of the spectrum, later the three from which others can be made); primary school is 1802, from French école primaire.

The Paris journals ... are full of a plan, brought forward by Fourcroy, for the establishment of primary schools, which is not interesting to an English reader. [London "Times," April 27, 1802]
Related: Primarily.

n.

1861, American English, short for primary election (1792, with reference to France; in a U.S. context from 1835); earlier primary caucus (1821).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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primary in Medicine

primary pri·mar·y (prī'měr'ē, -mə-rē)
adj.

  1. Being first or highest in importance; principal.

  2. Occurring first in time or sequence; earliest.

  3. Preliminary to a later stage of development; primordial; embryonic.

  4. Immediate; direct.

  5. Of, relating to, or being a sequence of amino acids in a protein.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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primary in Science
primary
  (prī'měr'ē)   
  1. Relating to a primary color.

  2. Relating to plant tissues or growth derived from the apical meristem in the tips of roots and shoots, whose cells divide and elongate to cause the plant to grow lengthwise.

    1. Relating to or having a carbon atom that is attached to only one other carbon atom in a molecule.

    2. Relating to an organic molecule, such as an alcohol, in which the functional group is attached to a primary carbon. A primary alcohol, for example, has the hydroxyl (OH) group attached to the last carbon in a chain.

    3. Arising first and spontaneously, as a disease, disorder, or tumor, and not as a result of a known medical condition or injury.

    4. Relating to the first set of teeth that develops in humans.

    1. Arising first and spontaneously, as a disease, disorder, or tumor, and not as a result of a known medical condition or injury.

    2. Relating to the first set of teeth that develops in humans.

  3. Relating to the initial medical care given by a healthcare provider to a patient, especially in a setting of ambulatory, continuous care, and sometimes followed by referral to other medical providers. Compare secondary, tertiary.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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