Main definitions of primate in English

: primate1primate2

primate1

noun

Christian Church
  • The chief bishop or archbishop of a province:

    ‘the primate of Poland’
    • ‘He therefore persuaded the primate of Numidia to consecrate Augustine to be coadjutor bishop of Hippo.’
    • ‘Catholic primate Archbishop Sean Brady will officiate at this morning's Mass in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.’
    • ‘Dr Williams has summoned the top 38 leading bishops, or primates, from across the world for a meeting in London in October.’
    • ‘I became a priest, then a bishop, then a primate.’
    • ‘His views were borne out by letters of support from two Catholic bishops, the Church of Ireland primate and the Presbyterian Church.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French primat, from Latin primas, primat- of the first rank, from primus first.

Pronunciation

primate

/ˈprʌɪmət/

Main definitions of primate in English

: primate1primate2

primate2

noun

Zoology
  • A mammal of an order that includes the lemurs, bushbabies, tarsiers, marmosets, monkeys, apes, and humans. They are distinguished by having hands, hand-like feet, and forward-facing eyes, and are typically agile tree-dwellers.

    • ‘One of the world's most diverse primates, lemurs range in size from a mouse to a medium-size dog.’
    • ‘As for the primates such as monkeys and baboons, the main effect of the high temperatures is that they lose their appetites.’
    • ‘An opposable thumb is generally seen as a defining characteristic of primates, but in spider monkeys it is greatly reduced or entirely absent.’
    • ‘Until now, babbling had been observed only in humans and a few primates, such as pygmy marmosets.’
    • ‘Besides eating fruit, primates consume leaves, nuts, insects, and other prey.’

Origin

Late 19th century: from Latin primas, primat- of the first rank (see primate).

Pronunciation

primate

/ˈprʌɪmeɪt/