primary


primary
primary, primal, primordial, primitive, pristine, primeval, prime mean first in some respect (as order, character, or importance).
Something primary comes first in the order of development or of progression. Sometimes the term means little more than initial
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the primary lesion of a disease

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but sometimes it acquires the implications of fundamental, elemental, or elementary, and describes the part or element that is first (as in time or in importance) or one of such parts or elements in a complicated structure, substance, or system
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the primary xylem tissue of a tree

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primary schools

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the raw material of music is sound. Sound is a primary, a "pure" medium .... It has no meaning except in a context—Day Lewis

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and at other times it means original in the sense of not being derived
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the primary colors

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the primary qualities of matter

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the primary cause

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basic research in the primary sciences such as physics and chemistry— Univ. of Fla. Bulletin

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But primary may convey little or no suggestion of a time order and imply superiority in importance, thereby coming close to principal
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the primary object of education

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the primary end of poetry

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all of us in the news business ought to remember that our primary responsibility is to the man who buys his newspaper, or turns on his radio, expecting ... the whole truth— Davis

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Primal applies to what is primary in the sense of initial, fundamental, or elemental
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some who maintain that the regime of religious toleration has become possible only because we have lost the primal intensity of religious conviction— Cohen

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not philosophy, after all, not humanity, just sheer joyous power of song, is the primal thing in poetry— Beerbohm

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or to what goes back to the origin or to the beginnings, especially of the human race
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it hath the primal eldest curse upon't, a brother's murder— Shak.

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the Biblical vocabulary is compact of the primal stuff of our common humanity— Lowes

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ultimate issues, primal springs— Kipling

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Primordial applies to what serves as the starting point in a course of development or growth or is the earliest in order or in formation. The term often suggests a rudimentary quality or state; thus, the primordial ooze is thought of as the substance out of which the earth was formed; a primordial cell is in biology the first and least specialized of a line of cells
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primordial germ cells

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primordial man

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assuming that the sun, planets, and their satellites had all originated from a primordial mass of gas— S. F. Mason

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Something primitive belongs to or is associated with an early stage, often but not necessarily a remote stage, in the development of something (as the human race). Often, when used in reference to art or manufacture, the term suggests lack of knowledge of such modern techniques or conventions as perspective in painting or modes in mensurable music or automation in industry
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primitive potteries

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the symmetry of the body provides the archetype of primitive design in most religious art— Binyon

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When used in reference to persons, their ways of living, or their instincts, emotions, or laws, it usually suggests either a connection with a very rudimentary civilization or a retention of a character or quality associated with such a civilization
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a primitive but effective police inquiry— T. S. Eliot

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primitive laws to protect inheritance, to safeguard property— Rose Macaulay

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genuinely primitive traits that reveal themselves in the childhood of either the individual or the race— Babbitt

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he worked in the seed gardens, learned the primitive pharmacy of roots, barks, and herbs— Genzmer

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Often, however, the term merely stresses an opposition to what is highly civilized or sophisticated and therefore unduly complicated, and may suggest naturalness or simplicity
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life is very primitive here—which doesn't mean that one is getting down to anything fundamental, but only going back to something immediate and simple— H. G. Wells

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the town band, a very primitive affair, brings up the rear, playing "Yankee Doodle"— Shaw

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Pristine applies to something in its earliest and freshest and newest state
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an image of the pristine earth— Wordsworth

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the qualities of pristine Christianity

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restored to its pristine freshness

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a pristine form of air conditioning— Mumford

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Primeval in its basic sense applies to something which belongs to or is characteristic of the first ages of the earth
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for food you must still go to the earth and to the sea, as in primeval d&ys—Jeffe ries

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drawings have a harsh, primeval definiteness, as though the world were in the throes of creation— Eric Newton

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Often, however, the term merely suggests extreme antiquity or the absence of all signs of human trespass or influence
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primeval ages

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behind the primeval curtain of trees and swamps the old tribal and pagan life went on— Cutforth

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Prime in its basic sense comes very close to primordial and primitive in designating what is first in order of time
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high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation— Housman

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but in its more common use it applies specifically to what is first in rank, degree, or dignity
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makes his moral being his prime care— Wordsworth

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a matter of prime impor- tance

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or sometimes to what is merely choice or excellent of its kind
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prime beef

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a prime claret

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Analogous words: initiating or initial, beginning, commencing, starting (see corresponding verbs at BEGIN): elemental, *elementary: basic, *fundamental, radical: *chief, leading, principal
Contrasted words: following, succeeding, ensuing (see FOLLOW): secondary, *subordinate

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Primary — Pri ma*ry, a. [L. primarius, fr. primus first: cf. F. primaire. See {Prime}, a., and cf. {Premier}, {Primero}.] 1. First in order of time or development or in intention; primitive; fundamental; original. [1913 Webster] The church of Christ, in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • primary — pri·ma·ry 1 / prī ˌmer ē, mə rē/ adj 1: of first rank, value, or importance 2: belonging to the first group or order in successive divisions, combinations, or ramifications pri·mar·i·ly /prī mer ə lē/ adv primary 2 n pl …   Law dictionary

  • Primary — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Primary» Sencillo de The Cure del álbum Faith Publicación 17 de marzo de 1981 (Reino Unido) Formato …   Wikipedia Español

  • primary — pri‧ma‧ry [ˈpraɪmri ǁ meri] adjective 1. main or most important: • Its primary business is developing and marketing new software. • The primary problem for the airlines is the recession. • It uses coal as its primary source of fuel. 2 …   Financial and business terms

  • primary — [prī′mer΄ē, prī′mə rē] adj. [ME prymary < L primarius < primus, first: see PRIME] 1. first in time or order of development; primitive; original; earliest 2. from which others are derived; fundamental; elemental; basic 3. designating colors… …   English World dictionary

  • Primary — Single par The Cure extrait de l’album Faith Face A Primary Face B Descent Sortie 17 mars 1981 Enregistrement …   Wikipédia en Français

  • primary — late 15c., of the first order, from L. primarius of the first rank, chief, principal, excellent, from primus first (see PRIME (Cf. prime) (adj.) ). Primary color is first recorded 1610s; primary school is 1802, from Fr. école primaire. The Paris… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Primary — Pri ma*ry, n.; pl. {Primaries}. 1. That which stands first in order, rank, or importance; a chief matter. [1913 Webster] 2. A primary meeting; a caucus. [1913 Webster] 3. (Zo[ o]l.) One of the large feathers on the distal joint of a bird s wing.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • primary — / prime [adj1] best, principal capital, cardinal, chief, crackerjack*, dominant, excellent, fab*, first, first class*, greatest, heavy, highest, hot*, leading, main, number one*, paramount, primo*, state of the art*, stellar, top, top of the… …   New thesaurus

  • primary — primary/secondary qualities …   Philosophy dictionary