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primate

[prahy-meyt or especially for 1, prahy-mit] /ˈpraɪ meɪt or especially for 1, ˈpraɪ mɪt/
noun
1.
Ecclesiastical. an archbishop or bishop ranking first among the bishops of a province or country.
2.
any of various omnivorous mammals of the order Primates, comprising the three suborders Anthropoidea (humans, great apes, gibbons, Old World monkeys, and New World monkeys), Prosimii (lemurs, loris, and their allies), and Tarsioidea (tarsiers), especially distinguished by the use of hands, varied locomotion, and by complex flexible behavior involving a high level of social interaction and cultural adaptability.
3.
Archaic. a chief or leader.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English primat dignitary, religious leader < Late Latin prīmāt- (stem of prīmās), noun use of Latin prīmās of first rank, derivative of prīmus first (see prime); (def 2) taken as singular of Neo-Latin Primates Primates, as if ending in -ate1
Related forms
primatal, adjective, noun
primatial
[prahy-mey-shuh l] /praɪˈmeɪ ʃəl/ (Show IPA),
primatical
[prahy-mat-i-kuh l] /praɪˈmæt ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for primate
  • If not careful in its usual place up in the trees, this primate often wound up as an owl's midnight feast.
  • Today there are twice as many primate species as there were then.
  • The ability to detect threatening snakes may have shaped the visual system of our primate ancestors, a new study says.
  • Now the growing number of people nearby pose a threat to the furtive primate.
  • primate brains have not always gotten bigger as they evolved, according to new research.
  • In this lesson, students examine the different branches of the primate family tree.
  • Information about what makes an animal a primate should be included.
  • Then they excluded human genes that also exist in primate relatives, but are disabled.
  • One persistent question has been how, and why, humans came to be so different from our primate ancestors.
  • One possible answer a comes from the rich literature of nonhuman primate studies.
British Dictionary definitions for primate

primate1

/ˈpraɪmeɪt/
noun
1.
any placental mammal of the order Primates, typically having flexible hands and feet with opposable first digits, good eyesight, and, in the higher apes, a highly developed brain: includes lemurs, lorises, monkeys, apes, and man
adjective
2.
of, relating to, or belonging to the order Primates
Derived Forms
primatial (praɪˈmeɪʃəl) adjective
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin primates, plural of prīmās principal, from prīmus first

primate2

/ˈpraɪmeɪt/
noun
1.
another name for archbishop
2.
Primate of all England, the Archbishop of Canterbury
3.
Primate of England, the Archbishop of York
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin prīmās 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 primate
n.

"high bishop," c.1200, from Old French primat and directly from Medieval Latin primatem (nominative primas) "church primate," noun use of Late Latin adjective primas "of the first rank, chief, principal," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)).

Meaning "animal of the biological order including monkeys and humans" is attested from 1876, from Modern Latin Primates (Linnæus), from plural of Latin primas; so called from supposedly being the "highest" order of mammals (originally also including bats).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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primate in Medicine

primate pri·mate (prī'māt')
n.
A mammal of the order Primates, which includes the anthropoids and prosimians, characterized by refined development of the hands and feet, a shortened snout, and a large brain.


pri·ma'tial (-mā'shəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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primate in Science
primate
  (prī'māt')   
Any of various mammals of the order Primates, having a highly developed brain, eyes facing forward, a shortened nose and muzzle, and opposable thumbs. Primates usually live in groups with complex social systems, and their high intelligence allows them to adapt their behavior successfully to different environments. Lemurs, monkeys, apes, and humans are primates.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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