Primes and Princes
This post lists and defines words deriving from the adjective primus, meaning “first” or “finest.”
premier: first, or earliest; as a noun, a synonym for “prime minister”
premier danseur/première danseuse: the first male and female dancer, respectively, in a ballet company
premiere: most commonly, a first performance or broadcast of a performing-arts production or the first day of an exhibition (and, rarely, the leading actress in a production); as a verb, pertains to appearing for the first time in a starring role, or the first performance of a performing-arts production
prim: neat and trim, or prudish or stiffly formal (and occasionally a verb pertaining to dressing modestly or making a demure expression); prim is also sometimes an abbreviation for primary or primitive
prima donna: the first female singer in an opera or a concert; by extension, based on the stereotypical arrogance of such performers, a person who is difficult to work with
prima facie: apparent or self-evident (or, in legal usage, legally sufficient to establish a case or a fact); on first appearance
primacy: the state of being first, or the office of a high-ranking priest called a primate
primal: elemental, natural, or original; less often, first in importance
primary: first in order of development or time, or importance or value, or basic, direct, or firsthand; also, relating to something initial or preparatory, or pertaining to a first division, or relating to a preliminary election, as well as derived from ores or not derivable from other phenomena (such as colors); as a noun, something first, dominant, or most proximate
primate: any of various species, including humans, apes, monkeys, and related animals; also, the highest-ranking priest in a given area
primatologist: one who studies primates
primavera: served with fresh vegetables (said of a dish, as in “pasta primavera”)
prime: as a noun, the first hour of the day, the best or most active period or stage, the earliest stage, the best or leading individual or part, the first part of the day, a symbol resembling an apostrophe used for various designations (including units of length, angular measure, or time), or a truncation of “prime number” or “prime rate”; as an adjective, best or first, or original (also various mathematical senses); as a verb, apply, load, prepare, stimulate, or supply
primer: a short introductory piece of writing, such as an informative article or a reading-instruction book; also, a device used to ignite explosives, a molecule necessary for formation of another molecule, or an initial coating, such as for painting a surface
primeval: ancient, basic, or first created, formed, or existing
primigravida: one that or who is pregnant for the first time
primipara: one that has borne a first offspring or only one offspring
primiparous: having a first or only one offspring
primitive: original, or earliest or least evolved or in an early stage of development, elemental or natural, or naive or self-taught
primo: the first or leading part in an ensemble; as an adverb, in the first place; as an adjective, slang synonym for excellent
primogenitor: ancestor or forefather
primogeniture: exclusive right of the eldest son to inherit all, or being the firstborn
primordial: see primeval
primp: dress up (perhaps an extension of prim)
primrose: any of various species of plants and their flowers
primus: in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the leading bishop; also, the first word of the Latin phrase primus inter pares, meaning “first among equals”
prince: a male member of a ruling family (especially a son of the ruler), a king or other male ruler, a nobleman, or, by extension, one of high rank or standing
princeling: a minor prince
princess: a female member of a ruling family (especially a daughter of the ruler), a queen or other female ruler, a noblewoman, or, by extension, one of high rank or standing
principal: as a noun, a leading person, such as the chief administrator of a school, or something that is most important, or the original amount of money owed; as an adjectival, most important
principality: the territory of a prince, or the authority, office, or state of a prince; in plural form, one of various hierarchical categories of angels
principle: an assumption, law, or principle considered fundamental, or an explanatory fact or law; a code or rule of conduct, the quality of devotion to principles, or a quality in general; an original source; or an ingredient with a characteristic quality
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