What does primary mean?

Definitions for primary
ˈpraɪ mɛr i, -mə ripri·ma·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word primary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. primary, primary electionnoun

    a preliminary election where delegates or nominees are chosen

  2. primary, primary feather, primary quillnoun

    one of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird's wing

  3. primarynoun

    (astronomy) a celestial body (especially a star) relative to other objects in orbit around it

  4. primary coil, primary winding, primaryadjective

    coil forming the part of an electrical circuit such that changing current in it induces a current in a neighboring circuit

    "current through the primary coil induces current in the secondary coil"

  5. primaryadjective

    of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondary

    "primary goals"; "a primary effect"; "primary sources"; "a primary interest"

  6. primaryadjective

    not derived from or reducible to something else; basic

    "a primary instinct"

  7. chief(a), main(a), primary(a), principal(a), master(a)adjective

    most important element

    "the chief aim of living"; "the main doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were primary targets"; "the master bedroom"; "a master switch"

  8. elementary, elemental, primaryadjective

    of or being the essential or basic part

    "an elementary need for love and nurturing"

  9. basal, primaryadjective

    of primary importance


  1. primarynoun

    A primary election; a preliminary election to select a political candidate of a political party.

  2. primarynoun

    The first year of grade school.

  3. primarynoun

    A base or fundamental component; something that is irreducible.

  4. primarynoun

    The most massive component of a gravitationally bound system.

  5. primarynoun

    A primary school.

  6. primarynoun

    Any flight feather attached to the manus (hand) of a bird.

  7. primarynoun

    A primary colour.

  8. primarynoun

    A directly driven inductive coil, as in a transformer or induction motor that is magnetically coupled to a secondary

  9. primaryverb

    To take part in a primary election

  10. primaryadjective

    The first in a group or series.

    Children attend primary school, teenagers attend secondary school.

  11. primaryadjective

    That which is placed ahead of others.

    Preferred stock has primary claim on dividends, ahead of common stock.

  12. Etymology: From the primarius, from primus (“first”; whence the adjective prime) + -arius (whence the suffix -ary); compare the primaire, primer, and premier.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRIMARYadjective

    Etymology: primarius, Lat.

    The figurative notation of this word, and not the primary or literal, belongs to this place. Henry Hammond.

    Before that beginning, there was neither primary matter to be informed, nor form to inform, nor any being but the eternal. Walter Raleigh, History of the World.

    When the ruins both primary and secondary were settled, the waters of the abyss began to settle too. Burnet.

    These I call original or primary qualities of body, which produce simple ideas in us, viz. solidity, extension, figure and motion. John Locke.

    As the six primary planets revolve about him, so the secondary ones are moved about them in the same sesquialteral proportion of their periodical motions to their orbs. Richard Bentley.


  1. Primary

    Primary is a song by English rock band The Cure, released as the sole single from their third studio album, Faith, in 1981.


  1. primary

    Primary generally signifies something which is firstly in rank, importance, or occurrence. It refers to something that holds the utmost significance or priority in a particular context, often serving as the basis or origin for other related things, events, or processes. The term can be applied across various areas such as education, election, colors, industries, and healthcare.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Primaryadjective

    first in order of time or development or in intention; primitive; fundamental; original

  2. Primaryadjective

    first in order, as being preparatory to something higher; as, primary assemblies; primary schools

  3. Primaryadjective

    first in dignity or importance; chief; principal; as, primary planets; a matter of primary importance

  4. Primaryadjective

    earliest formed; fundamental

  5. Primaryadjective

    illustrating, possessing, or characterized by, some quality or property in the first degree; having undergone the first stage of substitution or replacement

  6. Primarynoun

    that which stands first in order, rank, or importance; a chief matter

  7. Primarynoun

    a primary meeting; a caucus

  8. Primarynoun

    one of the large feathers on the distal joint of a bird's wing. See Plumage, and Illust. of Bird

  9. Primarynoun

    a primary planet; the brighter component of a double star. See under Planet

  10. Etymology: [L. primarius, fr. primus first: cf. F. primaire. See Prime, a., and cf. Premier, Primero.]


  1. Primary

    "Primary" is the only single from The Cure's third studio album Faith, released in 1981 on Fiction Records. It was the first song by The Cure to be remixed as a separate extended mix for release on 12" single. In fact, the original 12" extended mix is, to this day, still only available on the original 12" single, which has never been reproduced on any other album, making it quite a rare item. The main difference between the 7" mix, and 12" mix is that the extended mix lengthens the instrumental introductions to the song's verses.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Primary

    prī′mar-i, adj. first: original: chief: primitive: elementary, preparatory.—n. that which is highest in rank or importance: a planet in relation to its satellite or satellites.—adv. Prī′marily.—ns. Prī′mariness, the state of being first in time, act, or intention; Prī′mary-ac′cent, the accent immediately after a bar in music.—ns.pl. Prī′mary-col′ours, the colours obtained by passing the sun's rays through a prism: the colours of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; Prī′mary-plan′ets, planets revolving round the sun—not satellites; Prī′mary-quills, the largest feathers of a bird's wing; Prī′mary-rocks, the rocks which seem to have been first formed and contain no animal remains, as granites, &c.

The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Primary

    A term used to designate the inducing coil in an induction coil or transformer; it is probably an abbreviation for primary coil.

Editors Contribution

  1. primary

    A perfect, accurate and specific facet.

    Primary school is vital for every child.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 4, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'primary' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1166

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'primary' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2105

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'primary' in Nouns Frequency: #3003

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'primary' in Adjectives Frequency: #145

How to pronounce primary?

How to say primary in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of primary in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of primary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of primary in a Sentence

  1. Jonny Kim:

    Chris Kyle was the Primary Sniper, Navigator, Pointman, and newguys kind of get matched up to a person. He was the person I got matched up to, because I would eventually be groomed to take on his responsibilities, so early on, I got tasked with being the Assistant Lead Navigator and Point Man and Sniper, which I eventually got to take on these roles more as a Primary later, and in workup and also on deployment.

  2. Nathaniel Branden:

    The natural inclination of a child is to take pleasure in the use of the mind no less than of the body. The child's primary business is learning. It is also the primary entertainment.

  3. Michele Spoont:

    Dr. Fortney’s intervention developed a method to extend the reach of the specialized PTSD services to the community primary care clinics by using telehealth technology, not only does it make it easier for veterans to get the specialized treatments, but maybe it will help those veterans who are hesitant to go to a mental health program get evidence-based PTSD treatment if it is offered in a primary care setting.

  4. The Texas senator:

    Donald Trump could end up exceeding 50 percent of the vote in the GOP race, which would be a first for Donald Trump in any state and give Donald Trump a shot at claiming all 95 of the state's delegates. Incoming returns show him with roughly 62 percent. Fox News projects that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will place second in the state, leaving Texas Sen. Cruz to finish third.Cruz, though, has all along downplayed Trump’s New York performance as expected in Ohio Gov. John Kasich home state. The latest headlines on the 2016 elections from the biggest name in politics. See Latest Fox News also projects that Democrat Hillary Clinton will defeat Vermont Sen. Sanders in New York on the Democratic side. Primary front-runners Democrat Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both were seeking big rebound victories Tuesday after recent campaign setbacks. Texas Sen. Cruz has complicated Trump's path to the nomination by winning in recent contests like Wisconsin, and getting allies elected to several states' delegate slates. On the Democratic side, Sanders had been on a winning streak up until Tuesday -- claiming victory in seven of the eight prior contests. Whether Donald Trump and Clinton's performance Tuesday will be enough for either to wrap up the race in the coming weeks remains an open question. While the primary map seems to be shifting in the near-term to friendly territory for the front-runners, Trump in particular still faces a tough path to clinching the nomination pre-convention if his rivals choose to stay and fight. Texas Sen. Cruz, who infamously panned Trump's New York values earlier in the primary, had been bracing for a tough showing in the Empire State and showed no signs of throwing in the towel. The Texas senator was already looking ahead on the primary calendar, turning The Texas senator attention to Pennsylvania, where The Texas senator delivered a speech calling on Americans to join together to move the country forward. It is time for us to get up, shake it off and be who we were destined to be.

  5. Andrew Sussman:

    In instances where patients do not have a primary care provider — about 50 percent of all visits – MinuteClinic can be a portal of entry into primary care by providing a resource list of primary care physicians in the area who are accepting new patients.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for primary

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"primary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Nov. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/primary>.

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    without the natural or usual covering
    • A. denudate
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