Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective First or highest in rank or importance; main: synonym: chief.
  • adjective Highest in quality; excellent.
  • adjective Being the most desired or suitable example of something.
  • adjective First or early in time, order, or sequence.
  • adjective Mathematics Of, relating to, or being a prime number.
  • noun The period of greatest physical and mental robustness.
  • noun The period of best performance or peak activity: synonym: bloom.
  • noun Mathematics A prime number.
  • noun The prime rate.
  • noun A mark (′) appended above and to the right of a character, especially.
  • noun One used to distinguish different values of the same variable in a mathematical expression.
  • noun One used to represent a unit of measurement, such as feet or minutes in latitude and longitude.
  • noun The second of the seven canonical hours. No longer in liturgical use.
  • noun The time appointed for this service, the first hour of the day or 6 AM.
  • noun The first position of thrust and parry in fencing.
  • intransitive verb To make ready; prepare.
  • intransitive verb To prepare (a gun or mine) for firing by inserting a charge of gunpowder or a primer.
  • intransitive verb To prepare for operation, as by pouring water into a pump or gasoline into a carburetor.
  • intransitive verb To prepare (a surface) for painting by covering with size, primer, or an undercoat.
  • intransitive verb To inform or instruct beforehand; coach.
  • intransitive verb To become prepared for future action or operation.
  • idiom (prime the pump) To encourage the growth or action of something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • noun The first period; the earliest stage or beginning; specifically, spring.
  • noun The first hour or period of the day.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The spring of life; youth; full health, strength, or beauty; hence, the highest or most perfect state or most flourishing condition of anything.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In chem., a number employed, in conformity with the doctrine of definite proportions, to express the ratios in which bodies enter into combination.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, first in occurrence, from Old French, feminine of prin, from Latin prīmus; see per in Indo-European roots. Noun, sense 5, from Middle English, from Old English prīm, from Late Latin prīma (hōra), first (hour), from Latin, feminine of prīmus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French prime, from Latin primus ("first"), from Old Latin pri ("before"), from Proto-Indo-European *per- (“beyond, before”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; perhaps related to primage.

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The seegars was prime. HF 14

    December 5, 2006

  • A number whose only integer factors are 1 and the number itself.

    November 16, 2007

  • Here are some interesting primes:

    7

    97

    397

    9397

    39397

    739397

    73939

    7393

    739

    73

    7

    From The Futility Closet (where you'll see the proper grid arrangement I couldn't reproduce here).

    July 14, 2008

  • Oro--you can use the <pre> and </pre> tags to recreate that grid; e.g.:

      7

    97

    397

    July 14, 2008

  • 7point7

    July 14, 2008