3. First in excellence; of highest quality; as, prime wheat; a prime quality of cloth.
5. Lecherous; lustful; lewd.
(Science: mathematics) The vertical circle which passes through the east and west points of the horizon. Prime-vertical dial, a dial in which the shadow is projected on the plane of the prime vertical. Prime-vertical transit instrument, a transit instrument the telescope of which revolves in the plane of the prime vertical, used for observing the transit of stars over this circle.
Origin: F, fr. L. Primus first, a superl. Corresponding to the compar. Prior former. See Prior, Foremost, Former, and cf. Prim, Primary, Prince.
1. The first part; the earliest stage; the beginning or opening, as of the day, the year, etc.; hence, the dawn; the spring. In the very prime of the world. (hooker) Hope [[waits upon the flowery prime. (Waller)
Originally, prime denoted the first quarter of the artificial day, reckoned from 6 a. M. To 6 p. M. Afterwards, it denoted the end of the first quarter, that is, 9 a. A. Specifically, it denoted the first canonical hour, as now. Chaucer uses it in all these senses, and also in the sense of def. 1, above. They sleep till that it was pryme large. (Chaucer)
5. The first of the chief guards.
6. (Science: chemistry) Any number expressing the combining weight or equivalent of any particular element; so called because these numbers were respectively reduced to their lowest relative terms on the fixed standard of hydrogen as 1.
7. (Science: mathematics) A prime number. See Prime.
- to post; to coach; as, to prime a witness; the boys are primed for mischief.
Origin: From Prime.