Hypertext Webster Gateway: "primary"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Primary \Pri"ma*ry\, a. [L. primarius, fr. primus first: cf. F.
primaire. See {Prime}, a., and cf. {Premier}, {Primero}.]
1. First in order of time or development or in intention;
primitive; fundamental; original.

The church of Christ, in its primary institution.
--Bp. Pearson.

These I call original, or primary, qualities of
body. --Locke.

2. First in order, as being preparatory to something higher;
as, primary assemblies; primary schools.

3. First in dignity or importance; chief; principal; as,
primary planets; a matter of primary importance.

4. (Geol.) Earliest formed; fundamental.

5. (Chem.) Illustrating, possessing, or characterized by,
some quality or property in the first degree; having
undergone the first stage of substitution or replacement.

{Primary alcohol} (Organic Chem.), any alcohol which possess
the group {CH2.OH}, and can be oxidized so as to form a
corresponding aldehyde and acid having the same number of
carbon atoms; -- distinguished from {secondary & tertiary

{Primary amine} (Chem.), an amine containing the amido group,
or a derivative of ammonia in which only one atom of
hydrogen has been replaced by a basic radical; --
distinguished from {secondary & tertiary amines}.

{Primary amputation} (Surg.), an amputation for injury
performed as soon as the shock due to the injury has
passed away, and before symptoms of inflammation

{Primary axis} (Bot.), the main stalk which bears a whole
cluster of flowers.

{Primary colors}. See under {Color}.

{Primary meeting}, a meeting of citizens at which the first
steps are taken towards the nomination of candidates, etc.
See {Caucus}.

{Primary pinna} (Bot.), one of those portions of a compound
leaf or frond which branch off directly from the main
rhachis or stem, whether simple or compounded.

{Primary planets}. (Astron.) See the Note under {Planet}.

{Primary qualities of bodies}, such are essential to and
inseparable from them.

{Primary quills} (Zo["o]l.), the largest feathers of the wing
of a bird; primaries.

{Primary rocks} (Geol.), a term early used for rocks supposed
to have been first formed, being crystalline and
containing no organic remains, as granite, gneiss, etc.;
-- called also {primitive rocks}. The terms Secondary,
Tertiary, and Quaternary rocks have also been used in like
manner, but of these the last two only are now in use.

{Primary salt} (Chem.), a salt derived from a polybasic acid
in which only one acid hydrogen atom has been replaced by
a base or basic radical.

{Primary syphilis} (Med.), the initial stage of syphilis,
including the period from the development of the original
lesion or chancre to the first manifestation of symptoms
indicative of general constitutional infection.

{Primary union} (Surg.), union without suppuration; union by
the first intention.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Primary \Pri"ma*ry\, n.; pl. {Primaries}.
1. That which stands first in order, rank, or importance; a
chief matter.

2. A primary meeting; a caucus.

3. (Zo["o]l.) One of the large feathers on the distal joint
of a bird's wing. See {Plumage}, and Illust. of {Bird}.

4. (Astron.) A primary planet; the brighter component of a
double star. See under {Planet}.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate
rather than secondhand; "primary goals"; "a primary
effect"; "primary sources"; "a primary interest" [ant:
2: not derived from or reducible to something else; basic; "a
primary instinct"
3: most important element; "the chief aim of living"; "the main
doors were of solid glass"; "the principal rivers of
America"; "the principal example"; "policemen were primary
targets" [syn: {chief(a)}, {main(a)}, {primary(a)}, {principal(a)}]
4: of or being the essential or basic part; "an elementary need
for love and nurturing" [syn: {elementary}]
5: of primary importance; "basic truths" [syn: {basal}, {basic}]
n 1: a preliminary election where delegates or nominees are
chosen [syn: {primary election}]
2: one of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer
edge of a bird's wing [syn: {primary feather}, {primary
3: coil forming the part of an electrical circuit such that
changing current in it induces a current in a neighboring
circuit; "current through the primary coil induces current
in the secondary coil" [syn: {primary coil}, {primary

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