American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. First in excellence, quality, or value. See Usage Note at perfect.
- adj. First in degree or rank; chief. See Synonyms at chief.
- adj. First or early in time, order, or sequence; original.
- adj. Of the highest U.S. government grade of meat.
- adj. Mathematics Of, relating to, or being a prime number.
- n. The earliest hours of the day; dawn.
- n. The first season of the year; spring.
- n. The age of ideal physical perfection and intellectual vigor.
- n. The period or phase of ideal or peak condition. See Synonyms at bloom1.
- n. The first position of thrust and parry in fencing.
- n. A mark (ʹ) appended above and to the right of a character, especially:
- n. One used to distinguish different values of the same variable in a mathematical expression.
- n. One used to represent a unit of measurement, such as feet or minutes in latitude and longitude.
- n. Ecclesiastical The second of the seven canonical hours. No longer in liturgical use.
- n. Ecclesiastical The time appointed for this service, the first hour of the day or 6 A.M.
- n. Mathematics A prime number.
- n. A prime rate.
- n. See primitive.
- v. To make ready; prepare: guard dogs primed for attack.
- v. To prepare (a gun or mine) for firing by inserting a charge of gunpowder or a primer.
- v. To prepare for operation, as by pouring water into a pump or gasoline into a carburetor.
- v. To prepare (a surface) for painting by covering with size, primer, or an undercoat.
- v. To inform or instruct beforehand; coach.
- v. To become prepared for future action or operation.
- idiom. prime the pump Informal To encourage the growth or action of something.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- First in order of time; primitive; original: as, the prime cost.
- First in rank, degree, or importance; principal; chief: as, prime minister.
- Of the first excellence, value, or importance; first-rate; capital: as, prime wheat; prime quality; a prime joint of meat.
- Relating to the period or the condition of early manhood and vigor; being in the best or most vigorous time of life. See prime, n., 3.
- Ready; eager; bold.
- Fierce; strong.
- In mathematics, indivisible without a remainder, except by unity; incapable of being separated into simpler factors. Two integers are said to be prime together, or relatively prime, when they have no common divisor except 1. (Thus, 1 alone of all numbers is prime to itself, and in the theory of numbers it must be so regarded.) One integer is said to be prime to a second with respect to a third when it does not contain the second with respect to the third. (See
contain, 8.) One matrix is said to be prime to another when their determinants are relatively prime.
- A machine which receives and modifies force as supplied by some natural source, as a water-wheel or a steam-engine.
- 2 and Chief, principal, best.
- n. The first period; the earliest stage or beginning; specifically, spring.
- n. The first hour or period of the day. Specifically— The first hour; the first twelfth of the time between sunrise and sunset.
- n. In a more extended sense, from the fact that the lesser canonical hours followed at intervals of three hours, the first quarter of the time between sunrise and sunset, ending half-way between sunrise and midday.
- n. The spring of life; youth; full health, strength, or beauty; hence, the highest or most perfect state or most flourishing condition of anything.
- n. The best part; that which is best in quality; that which is of prime or high quality or grade, as fish, oysters, etc.; often, in the plural, a prime grade or quality.
- n. In fencing: The first of eight parries or guards against thrusts in sword-play, afterward retained in exercise with the foils; the first guard a swordsman surprised by an attack could make, while drawing his weapon from the scabbard near his left thigh. It was followed by parries in seconde, tierce, quarte, up to octave, according as thrusts followed at the openings in the defense made by such guards. In prime guard the point remains low, the hand higher than the eyes, as in drawing the sword, and the knuckles are upward. It is the ordinary position of the German student “on guard,” when fencing with the schlager.
- n. Hence — Sometimes, the first and simplest thrust (and parry) which can be made after two fencers have crossed foils and are “on guard” with the left sides of their foils touching: used thus for the direct thrust. This is by some writers called
modern prime, while the true prime is called ancientor old prime. In both old and modern prime the word prime is used to indicate the thrust as well as the parry or guard; but this comes from suppression of “in”: thus, prime thrust, for thrust in prime. Prime, seconde, etc., represent numbered sections of an ideal chart covering such parts of a swordsman's trunk as are visible to his opponent, each of which sections is supposed to be guarded by the parry thus numbered. Hence the meaning of a “thrust in prime,” etc.
- n. In chem., a number employed, in conformity with the doctrine of definite proportions, to express the ratios in which bodies enter into combination. Primes duly arranged in a table constitute a scale of chemical equivalents. They also express the ratios of atomic weights.
- n. A prime number; an integer number not divisible without remainder by any number except itself and unity.
- n. 8. The game of primero.
- n. A term used in the playing of this game.
- n. In music: A tone on the same degree of the scale or staff with a given tone.
- n. The interval between any tone and a tone on the same degree with it.
- n. The simultaneous combination of two tones on the same degree.
- n. In a scale, the first tone; the tonic or keynote. The typical interval of the prime is the unison, acoustically represented by the ratio 1:1; such a prime is called
perfector major. A prime in which one tone is a half-step above the other is called augmentedor superfluous. The perfect prime is the most perfect of all consonances—so perfect, indeed, that in its ideal form it is better described as a unison than as a consonance. In harmony, the parallel motion of two voices in perfect primes is forbidden, except when a strictly melodic effect is desired: such primes are called consecutive. Compare consecutive fifthand consecutive octave, under consecutive.
- n. One of the fractions into which a unit is immediately divided; a minute. It is generally
, but sometimes . Hence, an accent as the symbol of such a fraction: thus b, in algebra, is read “b prime.”
- n. The footsteps of a deer.
- To be as at first; be renewed.
- To insert a primer or priming-powder into the vent of a gun before firing.
- In the steam-engine, to carry over hot water with the steam from the boiler into the cylinder: as, the engine primes. See primage, 2.
- To perform the prime or first operation upon or with; prepare. Specifically— To put into a condition for being fired; supply with powder for communicating fire to a charge: said of a gun, mine, etc.
- To cover with a ground or first color or coat in painting or plastering.
- To put in a fit state to act or endure; make ready; especially, to instruct or prepare (a person) beforehand in what he is to say or do; “post”: as, to prime a person with a speech; to prime a witness.
- To trim or prune.
- n. The golden number: so called because it shows the prime of the moon.
- n. The grade next below the finest variety of a fleece of merino wool.
- To occur or come in advance of others: thus, flood-tide lags between new moon and full moon, but primes between full and new.
- To have precedence, as one claim over another.
- In tobacco-growing: To gather the ripe lower leaves from: said of the plant.
- To gather as ripe: said of leaves.
- To gather later instalments of (leaves). See priming, 5.
- v. transitive To prepare a mechanism for its main work.
- v. transitive To apply a coat of primer paint to.
- v. obsolete, intransitive To be renewed.
- v. intransitive To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.
- v. intransitive To work so that foaming occurs from too violent ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and be carried along with, the steam that is formed.
- adj. First in importance, degree, or rank.
- adj. First in time, order, or sequence
- adj. First in excellence, quality, or value.
- adj. mathematics Having exactly two integral factors: itself and unity (1 in the case of integers).
- adj. mathematics, technical Such that if it divides a product, it divides one of the multiplicands.
- adj. mathematics Having its complement closed under multiplication: said only of ideals.
- n. Christianity, historical One of the daily offices of prayer of the Western Church, associated with the early morning (typically 6 a.m.).
- n. obsolete The early morning.
- n. The earliest stage of something.
- n. The most active, thriving, or successful stage or period.
- n. The chief or best individual or part.
- n. music The first note or tone of a musical scale.
- n. fencing The first defensive position, with the sword hand held at head height, and the tip of the sword at head height.
- n. algebra, number theory A prime element of a mathematical structure, particularly a prime number.
- n. card games A four-card hand containing one card of each suit in the game of primero; the opposite of a flush in poker.
- n. backgammon Six consecutive blocks, which prevent the opponent's pieces from passing.
- n. The symbol: ′
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. First in order of time; original; primeval; primitive; primary.
- adj. First in rank, degree, dignity, authority, or importance.
- adj. First in excellence; of highest quality
- adj. Poetic Early; blooming; being in the first stage.
- adj. obsolete Lecherous; lustful; lewd.
- adj. Marked or distinguished by a mark (') called a
- adj. Divisible by no number except itself or unity.
- adj. Having no common factor; -- used with
- n. The first part; the earliest stage; the beginning or opening, as of the day, the year, etc.; hence, the dawn; the spring.
- n. The spring of life; youth; hence, full health, strength, or beauty; perfection.
- n. That which is first in quantity; the most excellent portion; the best part.
- n. The morning; specifically (R. C. Ch.), the first canonical hour, succeeding to lauds.
- n. (Fencing) The first of the chief guards.
- n. (Chem.), Obs. or Archaic Any number expressing the combining weight or equivalent of any particular element; -- so called because these numbers were respectively reduced to their lowest relative terms on the fixed standard of hydrogen as 1.
- n. (Arith.) A prime number. See under Prime, a.
- n. An inch, as composed of twelve seconds in the duodecimal system; -- denoted by [']. See 2d Inch, n., 1.
- v. To apply priming to, as a musket or a cannon; to apply a primer to, as a metallic cartridge.
- v. To lay the first color, coating, or preparation upon (a surface), as in painting.
- v. colloq. To prepare; to make ready; to instruct beforehand; to post; to coach
- v. Obs. or Prov. Eng. To trim or prune, as trees.
- v. (Math.) To mark with a prime mark.
- v. obsolete To be renewed, or as at first.
- v. To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.
- v. To work so that foaming occurs from too violent ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and be carried along with, the steam that is formed; -- said of a steam boiler.
- adj. of or relating to or being an integer that cannot be factored into other integers
- n. a number that has no factor but itself and 1
- n. the second canonical hour; about 6 a.m.
- adj. of superior grade
- v. cover with a primer; apply a primer to
- v. insert a primer into (a gun, mine, or charge) preparatory to detonation or firing
- adj. being at the best stage of development
- v. fill with priming liquid
- n. the period of greatest prosperity or productivity
- adj. used of the first or originating agent
- n. the time of maturity when power and vigor are greatest
- adj. first in rank or degree
- From Old French prime, from Latin primus ("first"), from Old Latin pri ("before"), from Proto-Indo-European *per- (“beyond, before”). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, first in occurrence, from Old French, feminine of prin, from Latin prīmus; see per1 in Indo-European roots. N., sense 7, from Middle English, from Old English prīm, from Late Latin prīma (hōra), first (hour), from Latin, feminine of prīmus. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Buy'n ony nigs, Kirke?' said the trader, inserting his arm in mine, and leading me away from the shanty: 'I've got a prime lot -- _prime_;' and he smacked his lips together at the last word, in the manner that is common to professional liquor tasters.”
“At that time, he added the title prime minister to his previous position as president.”
“PS - What's the betting he defies tradition and refuses to give up the title prime minister?”
“The origin of the term prime minister and the question to whom the designation should first be applied have long been issues of scholarly and political debate.”
“Overpaying for washed up skill players 5 years past their prime is his specialty.”
“Or if you don't think the prime is at fault and want to blame Orbital, then why don't we look at MSL?”
“Sure hearing somebody like Sutherland or Nilsson sing in her prime is an incomparable experience.”
“General Sir Mike Jackson, a captain and adjutant of 1 Para in Derry that day, also joined Cameron in what he called the prime minister's "fulsome apology".”
“This is what you call prime real estate down here in the center floor, right in the middle of Barack Obama's home state.”
“CLYDE ANDERSON, AUTHOR, CREDIT & FINANCIAL SPECIALIST: The sub - prime market is a market that really has been set up to help those that can't get loans in a traditional market what they call the prime market.”
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