primary

Primary means basically "first." When you vote in a primary, that is the first election in a series. When a matter is of primary concern, it means it's of first importance. Primary school is the first you go to (after nursery school, at least).

There's an interesting alternate system for counting first, second, third, etc. up to tenth. It's primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary. There's also a word for twelfth, duodenary, though that — along with all the words after tertiary — is rarely used.

Definitions of primary
1

adj of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondary

primary goals”
“a primary effect”
primary sources”
“a primary interest”
Synonyms:
essential
basic and fundamental
first
preceding all others in time or space or degree
original
being or productive of something fresh and unusual; or being as first made or thought of
capital
of primary importance
direct
being an immediate result or consequence
firsthand
received directly from a source
first-string
being a regular member of a team
original
(of e.g. information) not secondhand or by way of something intermediary
particular, special
first and most important
Antonyms:
secondary
being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate
inessential, unessential
not basic or fundamental
unoriginal
not original; not being or productive of something fresh and unusual
alternate, alternative, substitute
serving or used in place of another
auxiliary, subsidiary, supplemental, supplementary
functioning in a supporting capacity
collateral
accompanying; concomitant
indirect
not as a direct effect or consequence
secondhand
derived from what is primary or original; not firsthand
second-string
being a replacement or substitute for a regular member of a team
standby
ready for emergency use
thirdhand
derived from what is primary or original by two intermediate steps
tributary
(of a stream) flowing into a larger stream
substitute, utility
capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team
vicarious
experienced at secondhand
show more antonyms...

adj of primary importance

Synonyms:
basal
essential
basic and fundamental

adj most important

“policemen were primary targets”
Synonyms:
chief, main, master, principal
important, of import
of great significance or value

adj of or being the essential or basic part

Synonyms:
elemental, elementary
basic
pertaining to or constituting a base or basis

adj not derived from or reducible to something else; basic

“a primary instinct”
Synonyms:
underived
not derived; primary or simple

n a preliminary election where delegates or nominees are chosen

Synonyms:
primary election
Types:
direct primary
a primary where voters directly select the candidates who will run for office
closed primary
a primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote
open primary
a primary in which any registered voter can vote (but must vote for candidates of only one party)
Type of:
election
a vote to select the winner of a position or political office

n one of the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird's wing

Synonyms:
primary feather, primary quill
Type of:
flight feather, pinion, quill, quill feather
any of the larger wing or tail feathers of a bird

n (astronomy) a celestial body (especially a star) relative to other objects in orbit around it

Type of:
celestial body, heavenly body
natural objects visible in the sky

n 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”
Synonyms:
primary coil, primary winding
Type of:
coil
reactor consisting of a spiral of insulated wire that introduces inductance into a circuit

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