Definition of prim in English:

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Pronunciation: /prim/

adjective (primmer, primmest)

Stiffly formal and respectable; feeling or showing disapproval of anything regarded as improper: a very prim and proper lady
More example sentences
  • She had the look of a prim and proper lady of the Victorian times, with her well tended hair, all neatly tied in a bun, and simple, ankle length dress.
  • There was no prim and proper lady to be seen near the Great Hall, for they had no great mind to walk outside whilst it was raining.
  • Thus is the tone set early on, and it's decidedly at odds with our notions today of the prim and proper Victorians.
demure, proper, prim and proper, formal, stuffy, strait-laced, prudish;
informal starchy

verb (prims, primming, primmed)

[with object]
Purse (the mouth or lips) into a prim expression: Larry primmed up his mouth
More example sentences
  • "Really, Mr. North," she primmed her mouth to its most school teacherish, "I wish you would go".
  • Though she primmed her mouth at him, a dimple betrayed her.



Pronunciation: /ˈprimlē/
Example sentences
  • He has also written the accompanying catalogue, which reveals that these men who gave us some of the most poetic and placid paintings, which often seem to be so very primly composed, led turbulent lives.
  • So I kick off my shoes, tuck one foot under me, but remain primly upright, notebook and pen poised.
  • I dropped the curling iron onto the counter, finally satisfied with the ringlets that fell primly about my shoulders, and listlessly studied my reflection.


Pronunciation: /ˈprimnəs/
Example sentences
  • Yes, there's a clean-line primness to the design, evoking a corporate-committee-don't-offend style that won't match the aesthetics of some.
  • Dinner was seriously good, but far from solemn, with none of that hushed primness that spoils many smart country restaurants.
  • With that maddening primness of speech, he said, ‘You will not always have the luxury of addressing your targets without distraction, Joyce.’


Late 17th century (as a verb): probably ultimately from Old French prin, Provençal prim 'excellent, delicate', from Latin primus 'first'.

Words that rhyme with prim

bedim, brim, crim, dim, glim, grim, Grimm, gym, him, hymn, Jim, Kim, limb, limn, nim, scrim, shim, Sim, skim, slim, swim, Tim, trim, vim, whim

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: prim

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