AskDefine | Define primary

Dictionary Definition

primary adj
1 of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondhand; "primary goals"; "a primary effect"; "primary sources"; "a primary interest" [ant: secondary]
2 not derived from or reducible to something else; basic; "a primary instinct"
3 most important element; "the chief aim of living"; "the main doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were primary targets" [syn: chief(a), main(a), primary(a), principal(a)]
4 of or being the essential or basic part; "an elementary need for love and nurturing" [syn: elementary]
5 of primary importance; "basic truths" [syn: basal, basic]


1 a preliminary election where delegates or nominees are chosen [syn: primary election]
2 one of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird's wing [syn: primary feather, primary quill]
3 coil forming the part of an electrical circuit such that changing current in it induces a current in a neighboring circuit; "current through the primary coil induces current in the secondary coil" [syn: primary coil, primary winding]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (UK): /ˈpraɪməri/, /"praIm@ri/
  • (US): , /ˈpraɪmɛri/, /"praImEri/ or , /ˈpraɪməri/, /"praIm@ri/


From primarius (cf. French: primaire)


  1. The first in a group or series.
    Children attend primary school, teenagers attend secondary school.
  2. That which is placed ahead of others.
    Preferred stock has primary claim on dividends, ahead of common stock.


The first in a group or series
  • Finnish: ensimmäinen, perus-
That which is placed ahead of others


  1. A preliminary election to select a political candidate.
  2. The first year of grade school.
  3. A base or fundamental component; something that is irreducible.
  4. The most massive component of a gravitationally bound system.


a preliminary election to select a political candidate
  • Finnish: esivaalit
  • Hungarian: előválasztás
the first year of grade school
a base or fundamental component; something that is irreducible


  1. To take part in a primary election

Extensive Definition

The word Primary when used alone may refer to:
United States presidential primary
Primary elections in Italy
primary in Danish: Primær
primary in German: Primary
primary in French: Primaire
primary in Spanish: Primario

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Maxwell triangle, Munsell scale, ab ovo, abecedarian, aboriginal, all-absorbing, antenatal, anterior, arch, austere, autochthonous, banner, bare, basal, basic, basilar, beginning, bottom, budding, by-election, capital, cardinal, caucus, central, champion, chaste, chief, chromatic circle, chromatic spectrum, chromaticity diagram, closed primary, color circle, color cycle, color index, color mixture curve, color solid, color spectrum, color system, color triangle, complementary color, congressional election, constituent, constitutive, contested election, controlling, creative, crowning, crucial, demitint, direct, direct primary, dominant, earliest, election, elemental, elementary, embryonic, essential, fetal, first, firsthand, focal, fore, forehand, foremost, formative, forward, foundational, front, frontal, full color, fundamental, fundamental colors, general election, generative, genetic, germinal, gestatory, great, gut, half tint, halftone, head, headmost, hegemonic, highest, homely, homespun, homogeneous, hue cycle, immediate, in embryo, in its infancy, in ovo, in the bud, inaugural, inceptive, inchoate, inchoative, incipient, incunabular, indivisible, infant, infantile, initial, initiative, initiatory, introductory, inventive, irreducible, leading, magisterial, maiden, main, mandatory primary, master, material, mere, metamer, monochrome, monolithic, nascent, natal, nonpartisan primary, of a piece, of the essence, open primary, optional primary, original, overriding, overruling, paramount, partisan election, parturient, pioneer, plain, postnatal, predominant, preeminent, preference primary, pregnant, premier, prenatal, preponderant, presidential election, presidential preference primary, presidential primary, prevailing, primal, primary color, primary election, prime, primeval, primitive, primogenial, primordial, principal, pristine, procreative, protogenic, prototypal, pure, pure and simple, pure color, radical, ranking, referendum, rudimental, rudimentary, ruling, runoff, runoff election, runoff primary, secondary, secondary color, seminal, severe, simon-pure, simple, single, solar spectrum, sovereign, spare, spectral color, spectrum, spectrum color, star, stark, stellar, substantial, substantive, supereminent, supreme, tertiary, tertiary color, topflight, topmost, ultimate, unadorned, unadulterated, uncluttered, uncopied, underived, underlying, undifferenced, undifferentiated, unduplicated, unexampled, uniform, unimitated, unmixed, unprecedented, unreproduced, uppermost, ur
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