# Prime

prime

1. First in order of time; original; primeval; primitive; primary. *Prime forests.* *She was not the prime cause, but I myself.* (milton)

In this sense the word is nearly superseded by primitive, except in the phrase prime cost.

2. First in rank, degree, dignity, authority, or importance; as, prime minister. *Prime virtues.*

3. First in excellence; of highest quality; as, prime wheat; a prime quality of cloth.

4. Early; blooming; being in the first stage. *His starry helm, unbuckled, showed him prime In manhood where youth ended.* (milton)

5. Lecherous; lustful; lewd.

6. Marked or distinguished by a mark (') called a prime mark. Prime and ultimate ratio.

(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)

2. The spring of life; youth; hence, full health, strength, or beauty; perfection. *Cut off in their prime.* . *The prime of youth.*

3. That which is first in quantity; the most excellent portion; the best part. *Give him always of the prime.* (swift)

4. [F. Prime, LL. Prima (sc. Hora). See Prime] The morning; specifically, the first canonical hour, succeeding to lauds. *Early and late it rung, at evening and at prime.* (Spenser)

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.

8. An inch, as composed of twelve seconds in the duodecimal system; denoted by ['] See Inch. Prime of the moon, the new moon at its first appearance.

1. To apply priming to, as a musket or a cannon; to apply a primer to, as a metallic cartridge.

2. To lay the first colour, coating, or preparation upon (a surface), as in painting; as, to prime a canvas, a wall.

3. To prepare; to make ready; to instruct beforehand 6a9

- to post; to coach; as, to prime a witness; the boys are primed for mischief.

4. To trim or prune, as trees.

5. (Science: mathematics) To mark with a prime mark. To prime a pump, to charge a pump with water, in order to put it in working condition.

Origin: From Prime.