Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A payment made for loading or unloading a ship, or for care of goods during transit by ship.
  • n. An import duty levied by a guild of harbour pilots (especially at Kingston-upon-Hull and Newcastle-upon-Tyne).
  • n. An additional import duty levied by customs.
  • n. Droplets of water suspended in steam (especially in the cylinder of a steam engine).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A charge in addition to the freight; originally, a gratuity to the captain for his particular care of the goods (sometimes called hat money), but now belonging to the owners or freighters of the vessel, unless by special agreement the whole or part is assigned to the captain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small sum of money formerly paid over and above the freight to the master of a ship for his care of the goods: now charged with the freight and retained by the ship-owner. Also called hat-money.
  • n. The amount of water carried over in steam from a steam-boiler by foaming, lifting, and atomizing of the water. See priming.
  • n. A duty of one per cent. imposed by the Victorian Parliament 1803–95, on the prime, or first entry of goods.

Etymologies

From Late Latin primagium. (The French word post-dates the English.) (Wiktionary)
From prime +‎ -age. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "Primage, in maritime affairs, is a certain allowance paid by the shipper or consignee of goods, to the mariners and master of a merchant vessel for loading the same.... In some places it is a penny in the pound; in others sixpence for every pack or bale, or otherwise according to the custom of the place."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 352–353

    October 13, 2008