primitive

When we talk about "primitive man", we're usually talking about cavemen and other people who existed before the advent of table manners, but if your uncle speaks grunts and chews with his mouth open, you could describe him as primitive too.

Primitive is related to the word prime, and the root of both words is primus, which is Latin for "first." Since the phrase "primitive man" refers to the world's first people, you might think that the word primate has something to do with the similarity between early humans and monkeys, but it doesn't. Monkey, apes, and humans are called primates because they're seen as standing on the first, or highest, rung of the animal-kingdom ladder.

Primary Meanings of primitive

1.
adjn
little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type
a person who belongs to an early stage of civilization
2.
adjn
belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness
a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived
Full Definitions of primitive
1

adj little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type

primitive mammals”
“the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe”
Synonyms:
archaic
early
being or occurring at an early stage of development

adj used of preliterate or tribal or nonindustrial societies

primitive societies”
Synonyms:
noncivilised, noncivilized
not having a high state of culture and social development

n a person who belongs to an early stage of civilization

Synonyms:
primitive person
Examples:
Odovacar
Germanic barbarian leader who ended the Western Roman Empire in 476 and became the first barbarian ruler of Italy (434-493)
Types:
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Aryan, Indo-European
a member of the prehistoric people who spoke Proto-Indo European
autochthon
the earliest known inhabitants of a region
Basket Maker
early Amerindians related to the Pueblo; known for skill in making baskets
cave dweller, cave man, caveman, troglodyte
someone who lives in a cave
Heidelberg man, Homo heidelbergensis
a type of primitive man who lived in Europe
ape-man, missing link
hypothetical organism formerly thought to be intermediate between apes and human beings
Mound Builder
prehistoric Amerindians who built altar mounds
Piltdown hoax, Piltdown man
a supposedly primitive man later proven to be a hoax
barbarian, savage
a member of an uncivilized people
feral man, wild man
a person who is not socialized
ape-man
a person assumed to have been raised by apes
anthropophagite, anthropophagus, cannibal, man-eater
a person who eats human flesh
head-shrinker, headhunter
a savage who cuts off and preserves the heads of enemies as trophies
hunter-gatherer
a member of a hunting and gathering society
Vandal
a member of the Germanic people who overran Gaul and Spain and North Africa and sacked Rome in 455
wolf boy
a male person assumed to have been raised by wolves
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being
2

adj belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness

primitive movies of the 1890s”
primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains”
Synonyms:
crude, rude
early
being or occurring at an early stage of development

adj of or created by one without formal training; simple or naive in style

primitive art such as that by Grandma Moses is often colorful and striking”
Synonyms:
naive
untrained
not disciplined or conditioned or made adept by training

n a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived

Type of:
expression, formula
a group of symbols that make a mathematical statement

n a word serving as the basis for inflected or derived forms

“`pick' is the primitive from which `picket' is derived”
Type of:
word
a unit of language that native speakers can identify