Other forms: primates

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."

Definitions of primate
  1. noun
    any placental mammal of the order Primates; has good eyesight and flexible hands and feet
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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
  2. noun
    a senior clergyman and dignitary
    synonyms: 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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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘primate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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