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

  • n. An elementary textbook for teaching children to read.
  • n. A book that covers the basic elements of a subject.
  • n. A cap or tube containing a small amount of explosive used to detonate the main explosive charge of a firearm or mine.
  • n. An undercoat of paint or size applied to prepare a surface, as for painting.
  • n. Genetics A segment of DNA or RNA that is complementary to a given DNA sequence and that is needed to initiate replication by DNA polymerase.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An elementary textbook introducing a topic, or teaching basic concepts.
  • n. An elementary book for teaching children to learn the alphabet and to read, write and spell.
  • n. A single-stranded nucleic acid molecule required for the initiation of replication of a DNA molecule.
  • n. Any substance used to start a fire.
  • n. A small charge that burns furiously when given sufficient electrical current (Explosive primer) or when struck with force (percussion caps) that ignites the main combustable substances in explosives or ammunition.
  • n. A layer of paint designed to underlay a topcoat, used to enhance the adhesion and durability of the topcoat and help in protection of the surface.
  • n. A device used to circulate gasoline into the ignition chamber of an engine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. First; original; primary.
  • n. One who, or that which, primes.
  • n. Originally, a small prayer book for church service, containing the little office of the Virgin Mary; also, a work of elementary religious instruction.
  • n. A small elementary book for teaching children to read; a reading or spelling book for a beginner.
  • n. A kind of type, of which there are two species; one, called long primer, intermediate in size between bourgeois and small pica [see Long primer]; the other, called great primer, larger than pica.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • First; original; primary.
  • n. A first book; a small elementary book of instruction.
  • n. Specifically (ecclesiastical), in England, both before and after the Reformation, a book of private devotions, especially one authorized by the church and partially or wholly in the vernacular, containing devotions for the hours, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments. certain psalms, instruction as to elements of Christian knowledge, etc. Primers are extant dating from the fourteenth century and earlier. A reformed primer was set forth under Henry VIII. in 1545, and continued in use with alterations till 1575. A new series of primers began in 1553, and unauthorized primers were also often issued. Books of devotion closely resembling the old primers in contents and character are extensively used among Anglicans at the present day.
  • n. This is Long Primer type.
  • n. One who or that which primes.
  • n. A small powder-horn containing fine powder used for priming.
  • n. Any one of many cerambycid beetles whose larvæ bore into the twigs of various trees, weakening them and causing them to fall off as if pruned.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any igniter that is used to initiate the burning of a propellant
  • n. an introductory textbook
  • n. the first or preliminary coat of paint or size applied to a surface


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

Middle English, devotional manual, from Norman French, from Medieval Latin prīmārium, from neuter of prīmārius, first, from Latin, from prīmus; see prime.



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  • Book of A,B,Cs; one who primes, igniter.

    November 22, 2007