There are 2 main definitions of primer in English:

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primer 1

Syllabification: prim·er
Pronunciation: /ˈprīmər/


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.
Example sentences
  • Paint each plate rail with primer and two coats of white enamel.
  • Research shows that one coat of tinted primer and one coat of paint will give you a better paint job than two coats of paint.
  • Sand the areas until they are smooth and coat them with interior primer and let it dry completely.
1.1A 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
More example sentences
  • Eyeshadow primer is a must for me - I don’t put color on my lids without putting on some primer first.
  • I'm not a fan of lip primers, but this one was amazing and a lot more smoothing and lasting than most out there.
  • Touching your face can wreak havoc on your makeup, even if you wear a primer.
2A cap or cylinder containing a compound that responds to friction or an electrical impulse and ignites the charge in a cartridge or explosive.
Example sentences
  • When a firing pin drops on a primer igniting the powder charge, the cartridge and cylinder move slightly forward.
  • Lead is a key component in primers as well as bullets, and is responsible for holding together other chemicals that create the controlled explosion of the primer.
  • The honest concern is about airborne lead ejected by the primer and bullet when a cartridge is fired.
3A small pump for pumping fuel to prime an internal combustion engine, especially in an aircraft.
Example sentences
  • While cranking, keep your hand on the primer so you can give it a quick shot as the cylinders fire.
  • The engine primer needs to be used only if the engine is ‘cold-soaked’ (at least 5 hours since it was last run).
4 Biochemistry A molecule that serves as a starting material for a polymerization process.
Example sentences
  • The primase utilizes the DNA strands as templates and synthesizes a short stretch of RNA generating a primer for DNA polymerase.
  • The attached glucose is believed to serve as the primer required by glycogen synthase.
  • The additional nucleotide used on both primers was adenine.

Words that rhyme with primer

climber, Jemima, mimer, old-timer, part-timer, rhymer, timer
Definition of primer in:
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There are 2 main definitions of primer in English:

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primer 2 Syllabification: prim·er
Pronunciation: /ˈprimər/


An elementary textbook that serves as an introduction to a subject of study or is used for teaching children to read.
Example sentences
  • I've been for the last couple of years, looking at children's books, looking at primers that kids read in first grade and second grade, over this century.
  • Children used to learn to read from primers that showed pictures of things with their names underneath, to teach them what the written signifier meant.
  • Gaustad's work is unique in this regard and will serve as one of the best historical primers on the subject for years to come.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin primarius (liber) 'primary (book)' and primarium (manuale) 'primary (manual)'.

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