American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


PRIME, adjective [Latin primus.]

1. First in order of time; original; as prime fathers; prime creation.

In this sense, the use of the word is nearly superseded by primitive, except in the phrase, prime cost.

2. First in rank, degree or dignity; as prime minister.

3. First in excellence; as prime wheat; cloth of a prime quality. Humility and resignation are prime virtues.

4. Early; blooming.

His starry helm unbuckl'd, showed him prime

In manhood, where youth ended.

5. First in value or importance.

PRIME number, in arithmetic, a number which is divisible only by unity, as 5.7.ll.

PRIME figure, in geometry, a figure which cannot be divided into any other figure more simple than itself, as a triangle, a pyramid, etc.

PRIME, noun The first opening of day; the dawn; the morning.

Early and late it rung, at evening and at prime

The sweet hour of prime

1. The beginning; the early days.

In the very prime of the world.

2. The spring of the year.

Hope waits upon the flower prime

3. The spring of life; youth; hence, full health, strength or beauty.

That crop the golden prime of this sweet prince.

The prime of youth.

4. The best part.

Give him always of the prime

5. The utmost perfection.

The plants--would have been all in prime

6. In the Romish church, the first canonical hour, succeeding to lauds.

7. In fencing, the first of the chief guards.

8. In chimistry, primes are numbers employed, in conformity with the doctrine of definite proportions, to express the ratios in which bodies enter into combination. Primes duly arranged in a table, constitute a scale of chimical equivalents. They also express the ratios of the weights of atoms, according to the atomic theory.

PRIME of the moon, the new moon, when it first appears after the change.

vertical, the vertical circle which passes through the poles of the meridian, or the east and west points of the horizon. Dials projected on the plane of this circle, are called prime vertical or north and south dials.

PRIME, verb transitive To put powder in the pan of a musket or other fire-arm; or to lay a train of powder for communicating fire to a charge.

1. To lay on the first color in painting.

PRIME, verb intransitive To serve for the charge of a gun.