Definitions for: Prime


[n] the period of greatest prosperity or productivity
[n] a number that has no factor but itself and 1
[n] the time of maturity when power and vigor are greatest
[n] the second canonical hour; about 6 a.m.
[adj] at the best stage; "our manhood's prime vigor"- Robert Browning
[adj] (math) of or relating to or being an integer that cannot be factored into other integers; "prime number"
[v] insert a primer into (a gun, mine, charge, etc.) preparatory to detonation or firing; "prime a cannon"; "prime a mine"
[v] fill with priming liquid; "prime a car engine"
[v] cover with a primer; apply a primer to



Webster (1913) Definition: Prime, a. (Math.)
(a) Divisible by no number except itself or unity; as, 7 is a
prime number.
(b) Having no common factor; -- used with to; as, 12 is prime
to 25.


Prime, a. [F., fr. L. primus first, a superl.
corresponding to the compar. prior former. See Prior, a.,
Foremost, Former, and cf. Prim, a., Primary,
Prince.]
1. First in order of time; original; primeval; primitive;
primary. ``Prime forests.'' --Tennyson.

She was not the prime cause, but I myself. --Milton.

Note: In this sense the word is nearly superseded by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.'' --Dryden.

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

4. Early; blooming; being in the first stage. [Poetic]

His starry helm, unbuckled, showed him prime In
manhood where youth ended. --Milton.

5. Lecherous; lustful; lewd. [Obs.] --Shak.

6. Marked or distinguished by a mark (') called a prime mark.



Prime and ultimate ratio. (Math.). See Ultimate.

Prime conductor. (Elec.) See under Conductor.

Prime factor (Arith.), a factor which is a prime number.

Prime figure (Geom.), a figure which can not be divided
into any other figure more simple than itself, as a
triangle, a pyramid, etc.

Prime meridian (Astron.), the meridian from which longitude
is reckoned, as the meridian of Greenwich or Washington.


Prime minister, the responsible head of a ministry or
executive government; applied particularly to that of
England.

Prime mover. (Mech.)
(a) A natural agency applied by man to the production of
power. Especially: Muscular force; the weight and
motion of fluids, as water and air; heat obtained by
chemical combination, and applied to produce changes
in the volume and pressure of steam, air, or other
fluids; and electricity, obtained by chemical action,
and applied to produce alternation of magnetic force.
(b) An engine, or machine, the object of which is to
receive and modify force and motion as supplied by
some natural source, and apply them to drive other
machines; as a water wheel, a water-pressure engine, a
steam engine, a hot-air engine, etc.
(c) Fig.: The original or the most effective force in any
undertaking or work; as, Clarkson was the prime mover
in English antislavery agitation.

Prime number (Arith.), a number which is exactly divisible
by no number except itself or unity, as 5, 7, 11.

Prime vertical (Astron.), 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.


Prime, n.
1. The first part; the earliest stage; the beginning or
opening, as of the day, the year, etc.; hence, the dawn;
the spring. --Chaucer.

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.''
--Eustace. ``The prime of youth.'' --Dryden.

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, a.] The
morning; specifically (R. C. Ch.), the first canonical
hour, succeeding to lauds.

Early and late it rung, at evening and at prime.
--Spenser.

Note: 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. m. 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. (Fencing) The first of the chief guards.

6. (Chem.) 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.
[Obs. or Archaic]

7. (Arith.) A prime number. See under Prime, a.

8. An inch, as composed of twelve seconds in the duodecimal
system; -- denoted by [']. See 2d Inch, n., 1.

Prime of the moon, the new moon at its first appearance.


Prime, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Primed; p. pr. & vb. n.
Priming.] [From Prime, a.]
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 color, 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; to
post; to coach; as, to prime a witness; the boys are
primed for mischief. [Colloq.] --Thackeray.

4. To trim or prune, as trees. [Obs. or Prov. Eng.]

5. (Math.) To mark with a prime mark.

To prime a pump, to charge a pump with water, in order to
put it in working condition.


Prime, v. i.
1. To be renewed, or as at first. [Obs.]

Night's bashful empress, though she often wane, As
oft repeats her darkness, primes again. --Quarles.

2. To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.

3. To work so that foaming occurs from too violent
ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and
be carried along with, the steam that is formed; -- said
of a steam boiler.

Synonyms: bloom, blossom, efflorescence, flower, flush, ground, heyday, mature, peak, prime of life, prime quantity, undercoat

See Also: adulthood, canonical hour, fill, fill up, gear up, make full, maturity, number, paint, period, period of time, prepare, prime number, ready, set, set up, time period

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