(1)   Not derived from or reducible to something else; basic
"A primary instinct"
(2)   Of primary importance
(3)   Of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondhand
"Primary goals"
"A primary effect"
"Primary sources"
"A primary interest"
(4)   Of or being the essential or basic part
"An elementary need for love and nurturing"


(5)   A preliminary election where delegates or nominees are chosen
(6)   One of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird's wing
(7)   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"


From < ; see prime. Cf. French: and primer and premier.


  1. The first in a group or series.
    Children attend primary school, teenagers attend secondary school.
  2. That which is placed ahead of others.
    Preferred stock has primary claim on dividends, ahead of common stock.

See also


  1. A preliminary election to select a political candidate.
  2. The first year of grade school.
  3. A base or fundamental component; something that is irreducible.
  4. The most massive component of a gravitationally bound system.
  5. A primary school.
    • 2001, David Woods, Martyn Cribb, Effective LEAs and school improvement
      Excellence in Cities offers a further development of this approach, whereby secondary schools operate with small clusters of primaries as mini-EAZs.
  6. Any flight feather attached to the manus (hand) of a bird.
  7. A primary colour.
    • 2003, Julie A Jacko, Andrew Sears, The human-computer interaction handbook
      By adding and subtracting the three primaries, cyan, yellow, and magenta are produced. These are called subtractive primaries.


  1. To take part in a primary election