"They have a curious, mingled air of primness and gayety, as if gayety were not quite proper," the artist began.
She accepted with a slight recrudescence of primness; but her eyes did not leave him now.
His primness, if that is the right word, never altogether deserted him.
"You must take pains to avoid me," said Dora, schooling her lips to primness.
Grey was her only concession to colour, and her gowns and bonnets were of a primness which belonged to the past.
The primness of her was indescribable, and was not at all ruffled by Dan's hoot of derision.
"This is such a jolly place," cried Adela, who seemed to have left all her primness at Brighton.
Who would have dreamed that behind her primness all this frolic lay in ambush?
Lady Enville—for she was the taker of the siesta—was as free from any appearance of angularity or primness as possible.
But as soon as they caught a look or a smile meant just for them their primness melted.
1680s (v.) "to assume a formal, precise demeanor," perhaps from French prim "thin, small, delicate," from Old French prim "fine, delicate," from Latin primus "finest," literally "first" (see prime (adj.)). Later, "deck out, dress to effect" (1721). Attested as a noun from 1700. The adjective, the sole surviving sense, is from 1709. A cant word at first. Related: Primly; primness.