A primate is a monkey, ape, human, or other similar mammal. You've probably visited the primate house at the zoo.

When you see the word primate, you probably think of monkeys. A monkey is just one example of a primate, though — lemurs are primates too, and so are gibbons, and even people. The things we all have in common are large brains, opposable thumbs, bendy toes, and good eyesight. The Latin word primas, or "first," is the root of primate, which scientists sometimes call "the highest order of mammals."

Primary Meanings of primate

any placental mammal of the order Primates; has good eyesight and flexible hands and feet
a senior clergyman and dignitary
Full Definitions of primate

n any placental mammal of the order Primates; has good eyesight and flexible hands and feet

incomplete skeleton of female found in eastern Ethiopia in 1974
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an ape or monkey
any of various primates with short tails or no tail at all
any member of the suborder Anthropoidea including monkeys and apes and hominids
a primate of the superfamily Hominoidea
a primate of the family Hominidae
any of various long-tailed primates (excluding the prosimians)
primitive primates having large ears and eyes and characterized by nocturnal habits
large-eyed arboreal prosimian having foxy faces and long furry tails
nocturnal arboreal primate of Indonesia and the Philippines having huge eyes and digits ending in pads to facilitate climbing; the only primate that spurns all plant material as food living entirely on insects and small vertebrates
anthropoid ape
any tailless ape of the families Pongidae and Hylobatidae
homo, human, human being, man
any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage
Pithecanthropus, Pithecanthropus erectus, genus Pithecanthropus
former genus of primitive apelike men now Homo erectus
Sinanthropus, genus Sinanthropus
genus to which Peking man was formerly assigned
Javanthropus, genus Javanthropus
former genus of primitive man; now Homo soloensis: comprises Solo man
any of several extinct humanlike bipedal primates with relatively small brains of the genus Australopithecus; from 1 to 4 million years ago
fossil primates found in India
considered a possible ancestor to both anthropoid apes and humans
an anthropoid ape of the genus Proconsul
extinct primate of about 38 million years ago; fossils found in Egypt
Algeripithecus minutus
tiny (150 to 300 grams) extinct primate of 46 to 50 million years ago; fossils found in Algeria; considered by some authorities the leading candidate for the first anthropoid
Old World monkey, catarrhine
of Africa or Arabia or Asia; having nonprehensile tails and nostrils close together
New World monkey, platyrrhine, platyrrhinian
hairy-faced arboreal monkeys having widely separated nostrils and long usually prehensile tails
Lemur catta, Madagascar cat, ring-tailed lemur
small lemur having its tail barred with black
Daubentonia madagascariensis, aye-aye
nocturnal lemur with long bony fingers and rodent-like incisor teeth closely related to the lemurs
Loris gracilis, slender loris
slim-bodied lemur of southern India and Sri Lanka
Nycticebus pygmaeus, Nycticebus tardigradua, slow loris
stocky lemur of southeastern Asia
Perodicticus potto, kinkajou, potto
a kind of lemur
Arctocebus calabarensis, angwantibo, golden potto
a kind of lemur
bush baby, bushbaby, galago
agile long-tailed nocturnal African lemur with dense woolly fur and large eyes and ears
Indri brevicaudatus, Indri indri, indri, indris
large short-tailed lemur of Madagascar having thick silky fur in black and white and fawn
Avahi laniger, woolly indris
nocturnal indris with thick grey-brown fur and a long tail
Tarsius syrichta
a variety of tarsier
Tarsius glis
a variety of tarsier
Type of:
eutherian, eutherian mammal, placental, placental mammal
mammals having a placenta; all mammals except monotremes and marsupials

n a senior clergyman and dignitary

archpriest, hierarch, high priest, prelate
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William Ralph Inge
English prelate noted for his pessimistic sermons and articles (1860-1954)
Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros
prelate who was the confessor of Isabella I and who was later appointed Grand Inquisitor (1436-1517)
John Henry Newman
English prelate and theologian who (with John Keble and Edward Pusey) founded the Oxford movement; Newman later turned to Roman Catholicism and became a cardinal (1801-1890)
Armand Jean du Plessis
French prelate and statesman; principal minister to Louis XIII (1585-1642)
Desmond Tutu
South African prelate and leader of the antiapartheid struggle (born in 1931)
James Ussher
Irish prelate who deduced from the Bible that Creation occurred in the year 4004 BC (1581-1656)
William of Wykeham
English prelate and statesman; founded a college at Oxford and Winchester College in Winchester; served as chancellor of England and bishop of Winchester (1324-1404)
Stefan Wyszynski
Polish prelate who persuaded the Soviet to allow greater religious freedom in Poland (1901-1981)
Type of:
a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders

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