What does primitive mean?

Definitions for primitive
ˈprɪm ɪ tɪvprim·i·tive

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. primitive, primitive personnoun

    a person who belongs to an early stage of civilization

  2. primitivenoun

    a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived

  3. primitiveadjective

    a word serving as the basis for inflected or derived forms

    "`pick' is the primitive from which `picket' is derived"

  4. crude, primitive, rudeadjective

    belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness

    "the crude weapons and rude agricultural implements of early man"; "primitive movies of the 1890s"; "primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains"

  5. archaic, primitiveadjective

    little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type

    "archaic forms of life"; "primitive mammals"; "the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe"

  6. primitiveadjective

    used of preliterate or tribal or nonindustrial societies

    "primitive societies"

  7. primitive, naiveadjective

    of or created by one without formal training; simple or naive in style

    "primitive art such as that by Grandma Moses is often colorful and striking"


  1. primitivenoun

    An original or primary word; a word not derived from another, as opposed to derivative.

  2. primitivenoun

    A data type that is built into the programming language, as opposed to more complex structures.

  3. primitivenoun

    A basic geometric shape from which more complex shapes can be constructed.

  4. primitivenoun

    A function whose derivative is a given function; an antiderivative.

  5. primitiveadjective

    Of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church.

  6. primitiveadjective

    Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.

  7. primitiveadjective

    Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.

  8. primitiveadjective

    Occurring in or characteristic of an early stage of development or evolution.

  9. Etymology: From primitif, from primitivus, from primus; see prime.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRIMITIVEadjective

    Etymology: primitif, Fr. primitivus, Lat.

    Their superstition pretends, they cannot do God greater service, than utterly to destroy the primitive apostolical government of the church by bishops. Charles I .

    David reflects sometimes upon the present form of the world, and sometimes upon the primitive form of it. Burnet.

    The doctrine of purgatory, by which they mean an estate of temporary punishments after this life, was not known in the primitive church, nor can be proved from scripture. John Tillotson.

    Our primitive great sire, to meet
    His godlike guest, walks forth. John Milton.


  1. primitive

    Primitive refers to the earliest or original stage or state of something, often characterized by simplicity, lack of advanced development, or being rudimentary. It can also denote a basic or fundamental concept that cannot be deduced from other concepts. In anthropology or archaeology, it connotes relating or belonging to a society that is characterized by non-advanced or basic technological and social development.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Primitiveadjective

    of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church

  2. Primitiveadjective

    of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress

  3. Primitiveadjective

    original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar

  4. Primitivenoun

    an original or primary word; a word not derived from another; -- opposed to derivative


  1. Primitive

    Primitive is the second studio album by the metal band Soulfly released in 2000 through Roadrunner Records. Primitive has sold over 226,569 copies.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Primitive

    prim′i-tiv, adj. belonging to the beginning, or to the first times: original: ancient: antiquated, old-fashioned: not derived: (biol.) rudimentary, primary or first of its kind: (geol.) of the earliest formation.—n. a primitive word, or one not derived from another: (math.) a form from which another is derived.—ns.pl. Prim′itive-col′ours, the colours from which all others are supposed to be derived—viz. red, yellow, and blue; Prim′itive-fa′thers, the Christian writers before the Council of Nice, 325 A.D.adv. Prim′itively.—n.pl. Prim′itive-Meth′odists, a religious body founded in 1810, whose beliefs are the same as those of other Methodists, but whose working arrangements are nearly Presbyterian.—n. Prim′itiveness.—n.pl. Prim′itive-rocks (see Primary-rocks). [Fr.,—L. primitivus, an extension of primus.]


  1. Primitive

    simple in character; of an early or ancient type.

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'primitive' in Adjectives Frequency: #704

How to pronounce primitive?

How to say primitive in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of primitive in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of primitive in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of primitive in a Sentence

  1. Flavia Tomello Tsialas:

    CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Tsialas said Flavia Tomello Tsialas now hopes Flavia Tomello Tsialas sons death will inspire a cultural change at U.S.universities. I would like to see these deadly traditions and primitive practices be forever removed out of our colleges, so that hazing deaths do not occur in the future, i hope that this tragedy will force schools to create an environment for students to grow not only in knowledge, but also in love, inclusion and compassion.

  2. Aleksander Klaskovskii:

    The Belarusian authorities are not so primitive. They are not Internet-phobic. Lukashenko is a rational person, revolutions do not occur due to the fact that someone writes something on the Internet.

  3. Aline Zoldbrod:

    Music and sex both tap into a very primitive part of your brain, and that’s why the two go so well together.

  4. Bruce Campbell:

    Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

  5. Andres Meira:

    Until you live in one of these places you don't really understand the primitive fear of earthquakes, there are times when you can't sleep and sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and make sure things aren't moving.

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Translations for primitive

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"primitive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/primitive>.

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    the highest point (of something)
    A integrity
    B contribution
    C apex
    D downsizing

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