Definition of primal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprʌɪm(ə)l/


1Relating to an early stage in evolutionary development; primeval: primal hunting societies
More example sentences
  • Primitive, coming from the same route as primal, applies to societies which, like the earliest on earth, not only did not use metal, but did not farm.
  • At the end, four performers circled around the stage in a primal manner.
  • In experimenting with different ways of working with sound to bring out those very primitive and primal sounds, he insists there is a return to a collective unconscious.
1.1 Psychology Relating to or denoting the needs, fears, or behaviour that are postulated (especially in Freudian theory) to form the origins of emotional life: he preys on people’s primal fears
More example sentences
  • It's fear, the most primal human emotion, that gives gold its value.
  • The film taps into one of the most basic primal fears of childhood: separation from one's parents.
  • There are several cathartic therapies that involve primal screaming, rebirthing, or reparenting.
2Most important; primary or fundamental: rivers were the primal highways of life
More example sentences
  • It's possible that any educational curriculum aimed at the strictly cognitive level will not make much of a dent in this fundamental and primal relationship.
  • The outside walk is the most primal, important activity for a dog.
  • Fascination with fire could be described as a primal urge, an urge that we have become distanced from as our relationship with fire has become progressively more controlled.
basic, fundamental, essential, elemental, primary, vital, central, intrinsic, indispensable, inherent, cardinal;



Example sentences
  • It's harsh and primally emotional - and she's got a knife!
  • He got to his feet as well, reaching out and snatching locks of my hair with his hand, yanking me down, he held the knife to my throat and snarled primally, his eyes like pits of hell.
  • Katarik jumped out of the forest primally screaming.


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin primalis, from Latin primus 'first'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pri¦mal

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