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1a substance used as a preparatory coat on previously unpainted wood, metal, or canvas, especially to prevent the absorption of subsequent layers of paint or the development of rust. a cosmetic applied to the face before another product, intended to improve the coverage and lasting effect of the second product:it’s best to apply primer around the eye to help the makeup blend properly 2a cap or cylinder containing a compound that responds to friction or an electrical impulse and ignites the charge in a cartridge or explosive. 3a small pump for pumping fuel to prime an internal combustion engine, especially in an aircraft. 4 Biochemistry a molecule that serves as a starting material for a polymerization process.