There are 2 main definitions of prime in English:

prime1

Line breaks: prime
Pronunciation: /prʌɪm
 
/

adjective

1Of first importance; main: a nurse’s prime concern is the well-being of the patient
More example sentences
  • He said that for people trying to get away from a life of drugs, having a roof over their heads was of prime importance.
  • One of the prime characteristics of the U.S. upper class is its high level of organization.
  • The productivity of agriculture depends upon the relative scarcity of the two prime factors of production: land and labor.
Synonyms
1.1From which another thing may derive or proceed: Diogenes' conclusion that air is the prime matter
More example sentences
  • The goat's horn thus stands as a representation of the elemental energies of the earth, the prime matter from which the alchemical process begins its quest for the transformation of gold.
  • If a facility uses a generator for prime power, it would derive most, if not all, of its electricity from its on-site power systems.
  • Paris was not the site of the world's first prime meridian.
2 [attributive] Of the best possible quality; excellent: prime cuts of meat
More example sentences
  • He said that he knew it was a prime site and an excellent location and the sale reflected confidence in the city as a location for development.
  • For the main course, the choice of a prime cut of red meat gave the meal a high status and, for dessert, the homely comfort of stewed fruit was made special with the addition of port.
  • For meat lovers there were wonderful cuts of prime beef, pork and lamb, rare breed sausages and a whole range of game products.
Synonyms
top-quality, highest quality, top, top-tier, best, first-class, first-rate, high-grade, grade A, superior, supreme, flawless, choice, select, finest, superlative, peak, optimal, model;
excellent, marvellous, magnificent, superb, fine, wonderful, exceptional, formidable;
chiefly US top of the line
informal tip-top, A1, stellar, top-notch
2.1Having all the typical characteristics of something: the novel is a prime example of the genre
More example sentences
  • This is a prime example of falling standards in public services.
  • The three works on this disc are prime examples of Viennese Classicism at its best.
  • For many, intimacy is a prime characteristic of chamber music and the Old Laundry provides that cosy and friendly feel for musicians and audience alike.
Synonyms
archetypal, prototypical, typical, classic, ideal, excellent, standard, stock, conventional, characteristic, quintessential
2.2Most suitable or likely: any hospital with high costs is a prime candidate for closure
More example sentences
  • So, now living in a house, first floor only, I could likely be a prime target for any kind of scaries and psychos to walk in and get me.
  • Later, when it seems as if Matt is likely to emerge the prime suspect in a double homicide, there is the real possibility of generating some suspense as he strives to cover his tracks.
  • The doctor suspects an embolism (she was a prime candidate).
3 Mathematics (Of a number) divisible only by itself and unity (e.g. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11).
More example sentences
  • Both 13 and 17 are prime numbers, divisible only by themselves and 1.
  • The rest of the factors are each power of two times that prime number.
  • Every positive integer can be factored into the product of prime numbers, and there's only one way to do it for every number.
3.1 [predicative] (Of two or more numbers in relation to each other) having no common factor but unity: a congruence whose modulus is a number prime to b
More example sentences
  • Two numbers that have no common factors are called relatively prime (to each other).
  • F and F are relatively prime.

noun

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1 [in singular] The state or time of greatest vigour or success in a person’s life: you’re in the prime of life he wasn’t elderly, but clearly past his prime
More example sentences
  • Although I'm the same age as Kylie I'm well past the prime of my looks.
  • Here was a father who lost not one but two children in quick succession, in the prime of their lives.
  • Veer-Zaara is running to packed houses and you have several women and youngsters applauding the love one man shows for the woman he met briefly in the prime of his youth.
Synonyms
heyday, best days/years, day, time, prime of one's life, maturity;
youth, springtime, salad days, bloom, flowering, full flowering, perfection;
peak, pinnacle, height, high point/spot, zenith, ascendancy
1.1 archaic The beginning of something: the prime of the world
More example sentences
  • To this end we see how quickly sundry arts mechanical were found out, in the very prime of the world.
  • It told of desolate, regretted things befallen happy cities long since in the prime of the world.
2 Christian Church A service forming part of the Divine Office of the Western Church, traditionally said at the first hour of the day (i.e. 6 a.m.), but now little used.
3A prime number.
More example sentences
  • These are the Fibonacci numbers that are primes.
  • In his thesis Heilbronn also applied his result to primes in an arithmetic progression and to estimates of the sum of the Möbius function.
  • You can also look for sequences of consecutive primes in arithmetic progression.
4 Printing A symbol (ʹ) written after a letter or symbol as a distinguishing mark or after a figure as a symbol for minutes or feet.
More example sentences
  • In fact, the elimination of semantic priming by letter search of the prime is ambiguous with regard to lexical activation.
  • Stolz and Besner also found no significant semantic priming following letter search on the prime in the same experiment.
  • By mixing the languages randomly across trials, we ensured that participants could not anticipate the position of the first letters of the prime.
5 Fencing The first of eight parrying positions, used to protect the upper inside of the body, with the sword hand at head height in pronation and the tip of the blade pointing downwards.
More example sentences
  • The parry of prime which was effectual enough when a heavy cut was to be stopped was too slow and cumbrous to keep pace with the nimbler thrust.
  • The first parry (usually called the Prime) Is a very useful tool.
  • If the opponent flèches a lot, learn to deal with this by making a quick parry of prime and riposte to the lower target - particularly right handed-left handed or left-right.
6A special section in a cycle race, attracting a special prize.
More example sentences
  • Bishopthorpe-based Kay was awarded the most aggressive rider trophy having won four of the seven primes (lap prizes).
  • "Primes are announced throughout a race to make things more interesting as riders sprint each other for (them)," Meyers said.
  • These amateurs showed that though they are closer to the ‘beginner’ level of the sport, they definitely came out to race and the field was split in half almost immediately under the pressure of multiple money primes and anxious legs.

Origin

Old English prīm (in sense 2 of the noun), from Latin prima (hora) 'first (hour)', reinforced in Middle English by Old French prime; the adjective dates from late Middle English, via Old French from Latin primus 'first'.

Derivatives

primeness

noun
More example sentences
  • A concept of cropland primeness is advanced and means suggested for its computation, its display in maps, and its interpretation.
  • It could be hoped that this Fermat test would give an if and only if test for primeness.

Definition of prime in:

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There are 2 main definitions of prime in English:

prime2

Line breaks: prime
Pronunciation: /prʌɪm
 
/

verb

[with object]
1Make (something) ready for use or action, in particular:
1.1Prepare (a firearm or explosive device) for firing or detonation: he grabbed a gun from a nearby wall and primed it
More example sentences
  • He opened one of the Reiven's cargo units and reloaded and replaced his two pistols, strapped on a bandolier of explosives and loaded and primed a rifle.
  • Within minutes he found a cache which included AK47 assault rifles, a pistol, six primed grenades, grenade fuses, ammunition, cash, drugs and literature.
  • Before priming a grenade, check that the fuse holder is clean and free from obstruction.
Synonyms
prepare, load, set up, ready, make ready, get ready, equip, gear up
1.2Cover (a surface) with a primer: prime the new timber before painting the sill
More example sentences
  • If directed, prime the glass surface with a conditioning product.
  • For Sea Form, Bontecou raked wet printer's ink on a primed plastic surface to depict an ethereal, six-pointed star shape that evokes a feathery nest or squirming creature.
1.3Pour or spray liquid into (a pump) before starting in order to seal the moving parts and facilitate its operation: ensure a sufficient head of water is available to prime the pump
More example sentences
  • During CPB surgery, the CPB pump must be primed with crystalloid solutions to provide an air-free circuit.
  • If your pharmacist assembled the unit for you, check to see if it has already been primed by pumping the unit once.
  • The pump's valve is put into the well and then its cylinder primed with water to start the process.
1.4Inject extra fuel into (the cylinder or carburettor of an internal-combustion engine) in order to facilitate starting.
More example sentences
  • After you have primed the carburetor, move the choke to the closed position which is going to seal off the carb throat to enrich the fuel/ air mixture in the first couple of piston fuel compression cycles.
  • We cleared it off, pumped up the tires, put in a battery, primed the carburetor, and drove it away...what a machine!
1.5 [no object] (Of a steam engine or its boiler) mix water with the steam being passed into the cylinder.
More example sentences
  • The boiler's metal to water heat exchange surfaces become coated with oil and uneven heat transfer and a violent surging of boiler water (called priming) may occur in extreme conditions.
  • Priming, which is the carry over of boiler water to the cylinders, is likely to occur when the TDS levels are high making the water more unstable and is more likely to occur running with a high water level, and a heavy steam demand allowing the water to easily be carried over.
1.6 Biology & Medicine Induce a susceptibility or proclivity in (an animal, person, or tissue): artificial milk can prime the baby’s body for future allergic reactions
More example sentences
  • Only 2% of our patients were primed with sex steroids, and priming would have increased growth hormone secretion in many of the others.
  • If the vaccinated person ever encounters the actual SARS virus, his or her immune system will be primed to neutralize it.
  • So these people will be primed with the DNA vaccine and then boosted with the fowl pox vaccine, and that is what we hope the secret is.
1.7 Biochemistry Serve as a starting material for (a polymerization process): the oligonucleotide might prime DNA polymerase activity at multiple sites
More example sentences
  • To address the foregoing question, we applied the arbitrary primed polymerase chain reaction technique.
2Prepare (someone) for a situation, typically by supplying them with relevant information: [with object and infinitive]: the sentries had been primed to admit him without challenge
More example sentences
  • Kathy was primed with the information and rang.
  • Lacklustre reviews had primed me for disappointment with this one, and perhaps that's why, as I turned each page, my delight and fascination grew.
  • I couldn't help but feel he was priming me so I'd say all the right things and sell it on his behalf if he should send anyone around for a look.
Synonyms
brief, give information to, fill in, prepare, supply with facts, put in the picture, inform, advise, notify, tell, instruct, coach, drill
informal clue in, give someone the low-down
British informal gen up

Origin

early 16th century (in the sense 'fill, load'): origin uncertain; probably based on Latin primus 'first', since the sense expressed is a ‘first’ operation prior to something else.

Phrases

prime the pump

Stimulate the growth or success of something by supplying it with money: the money was intended to prime the community care pump
More example sentences
  • ‘We are using public-benefit funds to prime the pump, but if this product is a success, then hopefully we will get all our money back and then some,’ he says.
  • Yet the current government, overzealous to prime the pump, seems unable to resist the temptation to interfere in credit assessments, prodding state banks to lend to particular projects or businesses it accords high priority.
  • MHI needs an editorial team for an online newspaper targeting teenagers and is offering Sony Mini Disc Recorders to prime the pump in a contest closing on June 25, 2004.

Definition of prime in: