Prime: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
September 29, 2023

1. Prime (adjective): Of first importance; main or most significant.
2. Prime (adjective): Of the best possible quality; excellent.
3. Prime (verb): To prepare or make something ready for use or action.
4. Prime (noun): The period of time in life when a person is at their strongest or most capable.
5. Prime (noun): A number divisible only by itself and one.

"Prime" is a versatile term with numerous meanings across mathematics, general English language, and specific contexts such as commerce and mechanical operations. The term's various definitions and uses make it an interesting and important concept. Read on to discover more about this fascinating word.

"Prime" Definition: What Does "Prime" Mean?

The word "prime" holds significance in different domains, ranging from mathematics to describing the quality and readiness of objects and individuals.

  • Prime Quality: Denoting the top or highest quality, often used in the context of products or services.
  • Prime Age: Indicating the period of one's life characterized by peak physical and mental ability.
  • Prime Number: A concept in mathematics, a number greater than 1 that cannot be formed by multiplying two smaller numbers.
  • Priming: The act of preparing or making ready, such as priming a pump or canvas.

Parts of Speech

The word "prime" can function as an adjective, noun, or verb, offering varied meanings based on contextual application. Though less common, "prime" can also be used as an adverb to mean 'for the first time.'

How to Pronounce "Prime"?

Clear pronunciation of "prime" ensures understanding and effective communication.

Phonetic Pronunciation: praɪm (rhymes with 'time')

Synonyms of "Prime": Other Ways to Say "Prime"

Given the multifaceted nature of "prime," its synonyms span different contexts.

  • Principal
  • Supreme
  • Peak
  • Foremost
  • Optimal
  • Prepare

Antonyms of "Prime": Other Ways to Say "Prime"

Antonyms for "prime" revolve around inferiority or the concept of ending.

  • Inferior
  • Least
  • Last
  • Secondary

Examples of "Prime" in a Sentence

The application of "prime" in sentences showcases its diverse meanings and uses.

Here are ten sentences that illustrate its various contexts:

1. He kept his prime collection of books neat and tidy.
2. We are offering these products at prime rates for our loyal customers.
3. The athlete was in his prime, breaking records with ease.
4. Seventeen is a prime number, as it's divisible only by one and itself.
5. This prime steakhouse offers the best bang for the buck in town.
6. The smell of fresh bread always reminds me of my prime years in France.
7. To start the engine, you need to prime the pump first.
8. Many customers buy on credit when shopping at the prime outlets downtown.
9. The wolf is a prime example of an apex predator in many ecosystems.
10. The team worked during their prime hours to ensure maximum productivity.

Frequency of Use

"Prime" is used across numerous academic and colloquial contexts. While its mathematical usage might be specific, its other meanings find broader applications. The word is more frequently used in academic texts than in other types of texts.

Variants of "Prime"

"Prime" can be transformed based on tense, function, and context.

1. Priming: The act or process of making something ready for use or action.
2. Primed: Past tense indicating something has been made ready.
3. Primarily: Indicating something of primary importance or happening firstly.
4. Primeval: An adjective derived from "prime" to refer to the earliest ages of the world.
5. Primality: A noun derived from "prime" to describe the property of a number being prime.

Related Terms to "Prime"

The word "prime" is multifaceted, spanning various fields and usages. Here are several terms related to "prime," each with its unique connotation and context.

1. Prime Number
2. Prime Time
3. Prime Rate
4. Prime Rib
5. Prime Minister
6. Prime Factorization
7. Primer
8. Prime Meridian

Etymology: History and Origins of "Prime"

The word "prime" has its origins in the late 14th century, signifying "first, original, first in order of time." It was derived from the Old French "prime" and directly from the Latin "primus," which means "first, the first, first part." It also denotes "chief, principal; excellent, distinguished, noble." By the 1400s, "prime" also conveyed the sense of "of fine quality, of the first excellence." Additionally, by the 1610s, it was used to indicate "first in rank, degree, or importance." In arithmetic, the term "prime number," referring to a number indivisible except by 1, emerged in the 1560s.

Derivatives and Compounds of "Prime"

"Prime" has inspired several derivatives and compounds, adding nuance to its fundamental concept of being first or superior.

1. Primacy: The state of being primary or foremost.
2. Primordial: Referring to the earliest ages or stages.
3. Primate: In ecclesiastical terms, a chief bishop. Also refers to mammals, including humans and monkeys.

Common Misspellings of "Prime"

Accurate spelling of "prime" ensures clarity in communication. However, it is sometimes misspelled, leading to misinterpretations.

Here are some common misspellings of "prime":

1. Primm
2. Pryme
3. Pprime

10 Idioms Similar to "Prime"

"Prime" has found its way into various idioms and expressions that underline its essence of superiority or primacy.

1. In the prime of life
2. Past one's prime
3. Prime candidate
4. Prime the pump
5. Prime example
6. Prime mover
7. Ready for prime time
8. Prime real estate
9. Prime suspect
10. Prime time for...

10 Common Questions About "Prime"

The rich tapestry of "prime" usages prompts questions, providing insights into its multifaceted nature.

1. What is a "prime number" in mathematics?

A "prime number" is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided by 1 and itself without leaving a remainder.

2. What does "prime time" refer to in broadcasting?

"Prime time" denotes the period when television viewership peaks, typically evening hours.

3. How is "prime rate" significant in finance?

"Prime rate" is the interest rate banks offer to their most creditworthy customers, influencing various consumer loans.

4. Who is a "Prime Minister"?

A "Prime Minister" is the head of government in many nations, overseeing the executive branch and typically leading the legislative processes.

5. What does "priming the pump" mean?

It metaphorically signifies stimulating or encouraging an action or process, like investing money to boost the economy.

6. Why is "prime rib" so called?

The "prime rib" is a premium cut of beef from the rib section, known for its tenderness and flavor.

7. What is the "Prime Meridian" in geography?

The "Prime Meridian" in Greenwich, England, is the longitudinal reference line from which east and west are determined.

8. How does one determine the "prime factors" of a number?

"Prime factorization" breaks down a number into its smallest prime number multipliers.

9. What does it mean when a product is "primed" for release?

It signifies that the product is fully prepared, refined, and ready for its official launch or distribution.

10. How is the word "prime" used in painting?

In painting, to "prime" a surface means to prepare it with a preliminary coat, ensuring the paint adheres well.


"Prime" is a term with widespread applications, from mathematics and geography to politics and media. Grasping its varied nuances equips one with enriched understanding and effective communication. Dive into more definitions with our extensive vocabulary section for an enlightening linguistic journey.

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