Main definitions of prime in English

: prime1prime2

prime1

adjective

  • 1Of first importance; main:

    ‘a nurse's prime concern is the well-being of the patient’
    • ‘Mr Mirfin, who earlier this week criticised the council over the matter, said the safety of clubbers visiting the Casbah was of prime importance.’
    • ‘The precise number and nature of writing courses, like the question of their requirement, isn't of immediate, prime importance.’
    • ‘Family was of prime importance, and if mothering was her vocation, grandparenting was her reward.’
    • ‘Using proper ingredients - unrefined and unprocessed - is of prime importance.’
    • ‘Mr Whittle said the football club site was the prime location under consideration, but any more offers of land would be looked at.’
    • ‘The productivity of agriculture depends upon the relative scarcity of the two prime factors of production: land and labor.’
    • ‘The outline plan suggests a possible prime access point would be via Peake Avenue off Station Road, which villagers claim would be too narrow and could not cope safely with the extra traffic.’
    • ‘The prime characteristic of grasses is their movement in the breeze and the effect of changing light on their feathered fronds.’
    • ‘One of the prime characteristics of the U.S. upper class is its high level of organization.’
    • ‘The carrying capacity of a tourist destination should be given prime importance and small is beautiful should be the paradigm for eco-tourism projects.’
    • ‘Yet, despite its prime importance for the history of Europe, the eastern Roman capital has received very little archaeological attention compared to almost any major Roman city.’
    • ‘The prime importance of having an up-to-date will is to ensure your assets are appropriately disposed of or managed after your death.’
    • ‘Their plays share a prime place of literary importance in the development of modern Indonesian theatre.’
    • ‘The archaeological and historic value of the arm ring is its prime importance but its financial value will be determined by a panel of three experts from London auction houses.’
    • ‘Finding a way to prevent young people from being drawn into a life of continued offending is of prime importance.’
    • ‘When choosing a site, the prime consideration should be whether the soil seems fertile enough to support plant growth.’
    • ‘While bridal outfits and other related festivities are very significant, more often than not, it is the jewellery that is of prime importance in Indian weddings.’
    • ‘Phosphate has remained the largest revenue earner among Jordanian export commodities and still retains its prime importance.’
    • ‘The Ernakulam Public Library is undoubtedly an institution of prime importance to book lovers in the city.’
    • ‘He said that for people trying to get away from a life of drugs, having a roof over their heads was of prime importance.’
    fundamental, basic, essential, elemental, primary, vital, central
    main, chief, key, primary, central, principal, foremost, first, most important, paramount, major, dominant, supreme, overriding, cardinal, pre-eminent, ultimate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 From which another thing may derive or proceed:
      ‘Diogenes' conclusion that air is the prime matter’
      • ‘If a facility uses a generator for prime power, it would derive most, if not all, of its electricity from its on-site power systems.’
      • ‘Paris was not the site of the world's first prime meridian.’
      • ‘The goat's horn thus stands as a representation of the elemental energies of the earth, the prime matter from which the alchemical process begins its quest for the transformation of gold.’
  • 2[attributive] Of the best possible quality; excellent:

    ‘prime cuts of meat’
    • ‘On the edge of Lough Corrib, this property has all the qualities of a prime holiday home while being just 14 miles northwest of Galway city and about three miles from Oughterard.’
    • ‘Cuts with the choice label have less fat than prime, and select cuts even less.’
    • ‘A public meeting is to be held to discuss fears over plans to build fast food outlets, a cinema and bowling alley on a prime seafront site in Cleveleys.’
    • ‘For meat lovers there were wonderful cuts of prime beef, pork and lamb, rare breed sausages and a whole range of game products.’
    • ‘With demand for urban housing sky high and land in the city centre reaching up to £1 million an acre, it's a prime site.’
    • ‘The working conditions weren't exactly what he'd call prime.’
    • ‘The former nursing home occupies a prime site in what is one of Sheffield's wealthiest neighbourhoods and there is likely to be high demand and high prices for any new housing in the area.’
    • ‘When the time came to pay we were expected to cough up the same amount as if we had had consumed a far more expensive cut of prime meat.’
    • ‘Last week prime bacon was cut by up to one-third and a head of cabbage was down from 69p to 9p.’
    • ‘Not only is there a mansion house of architectural and historic importance, there is prime farmland, with the whole estate extending to some 1330 acres.’
    • ‘For the main course, the choice of a prime cut of red meat gave the meal a high status and, for dessert, the homely comfort of stewed fruit was made special with the addition of port.’
    • ‘While waiting in the restaurant, you can actually see the chefs transform prime cuts of meat and vegetables into exotic steaks.’
    • ‘So if that means paying that little bit extra, or travelling that little bit further to source prime quality, natural ingredients, then that is the secret of Sinclair's success.’
    • ‘It's in a prime site and it's a shame to let the building go to rack and ruin but we are at a crossroads and it's a question of which way we go.’
    • ‘He said that he knew it was a prime site and an excellent location and the sale reflected confidence in the city as a location for development.’
    • ‘The bow was of prime quality and was very light, and the stone heads of the arrows had an elaborate design on each of them.’
    • ‘So, today, a stop-at-home day, was topped off by a jolly good evening of prime quality entertainment.’
    • ‘The 325 square metre prime retail investment is likely to prove attractive to institutions, syndicates and private investors because of its location.’
    • ‘We'd like to see this prime riverside site restored to the benefit of the city and making a real contribution to a thriving York economy.’
    • ‘He said the encouraging results were due to the prime location and quality of the new projects.’
    top-quality, highest quality, top, top-tier, best, first-class, first-rate, high-grade, grade a, superior, supreme, flawless, choice, select, finest, superlative, peak, optimal, model
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Having all the typical characteristics of something:
      ‘the novel is a prime example of the genre’
      • ‘Allegra Hicks, the designer, is a prime example of this: blonde and pale-complexioned, she's nearly always photographed all in black.’
      • ‘But I would argue the film also stands as another prime example of the intense difficulty filmmakers have had in dealing with the subject of AIDS.’
      • ‘After her death Voltaire, who had known her since her childhood, observed that her prime characteristic was sincerity.’
      • ‘Trading of produce between members was started, straw and stock-feed potatoes being prime examples, moving between arable and livestock producers.’
      • ‘Additionally, ‘evil’ characters perform good acts, Duryodhana befriending Karna being a prime example.’
      • ‘Hookway's narrative provides a fresh, updated view of the cast of characters, as well as prime examples of technological innovation in this history.’
      • ‘Surely part of that intelligence is an understanding of what hurts other humans - cheating on them being a prime example - and surely our only basic moral code should be not to do those things?’
      • ‘This is a prime example of falling standards in public services.’
      • ‘For many, intimacy is a prime characteristic of chamber music and the Old Laundry provides that cosy and friendly feel for musicians and audience alike.’
      • ‘Scientific research is certainly a good thing when used for human welfare, and surely this is a prime example of the kind of research we should be doing, so the argument goes.’
      • ‘Nokia, Michelin and Volkswagen are prime examples of companies driven by creating products of high value and not just value for shareholders, he said.’
      • ‘Her behavior was a prime example of that over-eager enthusiasm, that in-my-face approach that has always driven me back.’
      • ‘Located about two hours west of Sofia in the Sredna Gora highlands, Koprivshtitsa is a prime example of Bulgaria's attempt to promote its country life to tourists.’
      • ‘The three works on this disc are prime examples of Viennese Classicism at its best.’
      • ‘‘This is a prime example of what the community can achieve when they work together,’ said Council Chairman Frank Feely.’
      • ‘Hagrid, another character in the novels, is a prime example of a male being shunned for displaying sensitive and emotional characteristics.’
      • ‘It's a prime example of the sort of pseudo-economic jargon that's so much in vogue, and is a neat way of saying that we are too busy funding our hectic lives and second homes to find time to look after our parents or children.’
      • ‘Daisies is a prime example of a film that typifies the Czech New Wave - anti-authoritarian, joyous, idealistic and brilliant.’
      • ‘This is a prime example of an award that increases access as well as helping regenerate an area that has suffered hardship over the last year.’
      • ‘The prime examples of commercial journalism are popular magazines, tabloid newspapers, and news and current affairs on commercial TV and radio.’
      archetypal, prototypical, typical, classic, ideal, excellent, standard, stock, conventional, characteristic, quintessential
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Most suitable or likely:
      ‘any hospital with high costs is a prime candidate for closure’
      • ‘In bygone days Yvonne would have been a prime candidate for a genteel, on-the-scales-off-again Weight Watchers campaign.’
      • ‘Alcohol, the leading cause of liver disease, the only cause of drunk driving and a leading cause of a whole laundry list of social problems, seems a prime candidate for criminalization.’
      • ‘In Dartford our new hospital has been put forward as a prime candidate to become a foundation hospital.’
      • ‘The doctors said they don't have a prime candidate for the procedure, and they are not actively screening for candidates.’
      • ‘Scott, described as a prime candidate for promotion before the offences, will now be dishonourably discharged.’
      • ‘Mr Chadney's report stated that after looking at alternative sites for the scheme, Harwich had been identified as the prime candidate.’
      • ‘Later, when it seems as if Matt is likely to emerge the prime suspect in a double homicide, there is the real possibility of generating some suspense as he strives to cover his tracks.’
      • ‘Meantime, Galway's league win is a fine preparation for the hurling championship and we have to be prime contenders again.’
      • ‘Which players are prime candidates to become unsung heroes?’
      • ‘Also, projects like the Protein Folding, are prime candidates for harnessing the power of this kind of an accelerator.’
      • ‘He was, in fact, a prime candidate for arrest and removal from the scene.’
      • ‘The doctor suspects an embolism (she was a prime candidate).’
      • ‘Students are prime candidates for mental illness but few recognise it because of the effects of stress.’
      • ‘It is thought that Glasgow's Buchanan Street could be a prime candidate for such a store.’
      • ‘Doctors told 20-stone Lynn, 55, she was a prime contender for a heart attack in the next few years unless she lost weight.’
      • ‘It's obvious at least to me that they believe that this guy is a prime candidate for investigation.’
      • ‘So Dr. Schwab, in fact, wrote me and said that I'm a prime candidate for regeneration and recovery.’
      • ‘Purified elements from the Periodic Table would be prime candidates for patenting.’
      • ‘Fort Sam Houston is a prime candidate for wireless networks.’
      • ‘So, now living in a house, first floor only, I could likely be a prime target for any kind of scaries and psychos to walk in and get me.’
  • 3Mathematics
    (of a number) divisible only by itself and unity (e.g. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11).

    • ‘Precisely defined yet enticingly elusive, prime numbers occupy a central place in number theory.’
    • ‘Both 13 and 17 are prime numbers, divisible only by themselves and 1.’
    • ‘He gave a proof of the prime number theorem in 1903 which was considerably simpler that the ones given in 1896 by Vallée Poussin and Hadamard.’
    • ‘Every positive integer can be factored into the product of prime numbers, and there's only one way to do it for every number.’
    • ‘The rest of the factors are each power of two times that prime number.’
    1. 3.1[predicative] (of two or more numbers in relation to each other) having no common factor but unity:
      ‘a congruence whose modulus is a number prime to b’
      • ‘Two numbers that have no common factors are called relatively prime (to each other).’
      • ‘F and F are relatively prime.’

noun

  • 1[in singular] The state or time of greatest vigour or success in a person's life:

    ‘you're in the prime of life’
    ‘he wasn't elderly, but clearly past his prime’
    • ‘The laid-back, improvisational weaving of the parts bore the confident mark of their maker, a choreographer in his shining prime.’
    • ‘Jean Brodie is the formidable and unconventional teacher in the prime of her life, working at a girls' school in the 1930s.’
    • ‘He is playing for a new deal in the prime of his career.’
    • ‘A vain aristocrat, Gray had a picture painted of himself when he was in the prime of his youth.’
    • ‘He was well past his prime, but quite venerable.’
    • ‘In the prime of manhood at 43, Simon runs a company closing in on half a billion dollars in revenues, with a market cap twice that, up from next to nothing eight years ago.’
    • ‘Comet… I remember standing on the edge of a runway at Farnborough in 1959 watching a Vulcan taking off, feeling the ground tremble and the air roar like a god in the prime of his power.’
    • ‘Veer-Zaara is running to packed houses and you have several women and youngsters applauding the love one man shows for the woman he met briefly in the prime of his youth.’
    • ‘It is hard when we lose our parents as adults and even harder for parents and family when their children are taken away from them in the prime of their youth.’
    • ‘Jonathan Richman, among others, spent his prime writing this kind of slyly humorous yet evocative music.’
    • ‘‘It's hard when somebody dies in the prime of their life, in such a sudden and unexpected way,’ said Mrs Magson.’
    • ‘Surprisingly, at the age of 26-in the prime of her life - she abandoned her career which she had built for 12 years.’
    • ‘Here was a father who lost not one but two children in quick succession, in the prime of their lives.’
    • ‘In his prime in Sacramento, Doug Christie was one of my favorite players in the league.’
    • ‘By 2012 she would be in the prime of her athletics career, but for now, her priority will be her place in Helsinki and Melbourne.’
    • ‘Nathan Berg's appearance at The Factory represents an unmissable opportunity to hear one of America's jazz greats in the prime of his creative life.’
    • ‘A young woman who was struck down in the prime of her life with a potentially fatal illness has organised a series of events for the summer to raise money for charity.’
    • ‘Think of all those past geniuses who were cut off in their prime, and what might have been possible had they lived a few decades more.’
    • ‘Although I'm the same age as Kylie I'm well past the prime of my looks.’
    • ‘Many of them are young adults in whom we have invested an education, but who now find themselves in the prime of their lives with few alternatives.’
    heyday, best days, best years, day, time, prime of one's life, maturity
    youth, springtime, salad days, bloom, flowering, full flowering, perfection
    peak, pinnacle, height, high point, high spot, zenith, ascendancy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic The beginning of something:
      ‘the prime of the world’
      • ‘It told of desolate, regretted things befallen happy cities long since in the prime of the world.’
      • ‘To this end we see how quickly sundry arts mechanical were found out, in the very prime of the world.’
  • 2Christian Church
    A service forming part of the Divine Office of the Western Church, traditionally said at the first hour of the day (i.e. 6 a.m.), but now little used.

  • 3A prime number.

    • ‘You can also look for sequences of consecutive primes in arithmetic progression.’
    • ‘The primes have tantalized mathematicians since the Greeks, because they appear to be somewhat randomly distributed but not completely so.’
    • ‘Goldbach also conjectured that every odd number is the sum of three primes.’
    • ‘These are the Fibonacci numbers that are primes.’
    • ‘In his thesis Heilbronn also applied his result to primes in an arithmetic progression and to estimates of the sum of the Möbius function.’
  • 4Printing
    A symbol (ʹ) written after a letter or symbol as a distinguishing mark or after a figure as a symbol for minutes or feet.

    • ‘All digits, primes, and target stimuli were presented in lower case letters, in the font Helvetica, bold, and size 24.’
    • ‘In English, the beginning letters of the target and prime are always on the left side of the character string.’
    • ‘By mixing the languages randomly across trials, we ensured that participants could not anticipate the position of the first letters of the prime.’
    • ‘In fact, the elimination of semantic priming by letter search of the prime is ambiguous with regard to lexical activation.’
    • ‘Stolz and Besner also found no significant semantic priming following letter search on the prime in the same experiment.’
  • 5Fencing
    The first of eight parrying positions, used to protect the upper inside of the body, with the sword hand at head height in pronation and the tip of the blade pointing downwards.

    • ‘The parry of prime which was effectual enough when a heavy cut was to be stopped was too slow and cumbrous to keep pace with the nimbler thrust.’
    • ‘The first parry (usually called the Prime) Is a very useful tool.’
    • ‘If the opponent flèches a lot, learn to deal with this by making a quick parry of prime and riposte to the lower target - particularly right handed-left handed or left-right.’
  • 6A special section in a cycle race, attracting a special prize.

    • ‘"Primes are announced throughout a race to make things more interesting as riders sprint each other for (them)," Meyers said.’
    • ‘These amateurs showed that though they are closer to the ‘beginner’ level of the sport, they definitely came out to race and the field was split in half almost immediately under the pressure of multiple money primes and anxious legs.’
    • ‘Bishopthorpe-based Kay was awarded the most aggressive rider trophy having won four of the seven primes (lap prizes).’

Origin

Old English prīm (in prime), from Latin prima (hora) first (hour), reinforced in Middle English by Old French prime; the adjective dates from late Middle English, via Old French from Latin primus first.

Pronunciation:

prime

/prʌɪm/

Main definitions of prime in English

: prime1prime2

prime2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Make (something) ready for use or action, in particular:

    1. 1.1 Prepare (a firearm or explosive device) for firing or detonation:
      ‘he grabbed a gun from a nearby wall and primed it’
      • ‘An army spokeswoman said the searches had found five concealed rifles and about 40 explosive devices, primed for use.’
      • ‘Life is about seventy years, unless you do something utterly outrageous like trying to Slamdance while priming plastic explosives - in which case your guess is as good as mine, man.’
      • ‘He primed his last grenade and threw it into the group of aliens.’
      • ‘He opened one of the Reiven's cargo units and reloaded and replaced his two pistols, strapped on a bandolier of explosives and loaded and primed a rifle.’
      • ‘She mentally primed the rocket batteries when she got within range as well as the conventional missile launchers.’
      • ‘The noise echoed in the caves, and the first four girls loaded and primed their guns before continuing.’
      • ‘I was leaning out with my heavy caliber machine gun primed, waiting for the order to shoot.’
      • ‘The British soldiers, Brown Bess muskets primed and loaded, slid down the ropes onto the shaky boats, cramming about thirty light infantrymen to each of the tiny transports.’
      • ‘Last week's tests confirmed the capability of the new missile; the missiles will be primed for firing and the warheads armed for detonation.’
      • ‘Hurley nodded and disappeared below deck, reappeared a good time later with eighteen muskets, all primed and loaded, they just needed the ships to get within shooting distance.’
      • ‘Within minutes he found a cache which included AK47 assault rifles, a pistol, six primed grenades, grenade fuses, ammunition, cash, drugs and literature.’
      • ‘Travis primed his rifle by tearing back on the lever, others followed as they neared the surface of the planet.’
      • ‘The guns are currently silent, but a number are being primed for action.’
      • ‘In the mid 1700s the Chapel, at Chapel Plaistow, in Box, was home to the infamous John Poulter, who regularly primed his pistols in the kitchen of the nearby Bell pub.’
      • ‘When the Cave family gathers for a reunion at their idyllic holiday retreat, everyone has an emotional hand grenade primed and ready to throw.’
      • ‘Andre glanced down to his final blaze bringer missile, which was primed and ready to launch.’
      • ‘Before priming a grenade, check that the fuse holder is clean and free from obstruction.’
      • ‘Once an air rifle is primed, the shooter takes care to ensure that the sights are not disturbed.’
      • ‘Croft and Wilmore stood side by side and watched Protheroe and FitzWilliam check the flints then load and prime both pistols.’
      • ‘Their squadrons were ready, and all weapons and shield systems were primed and ready.’
      prepare, load, set up, ready, make ready, get ready, equip, gear up
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Cover (a surface) with a primer:
      ‘prime the new timber before painting the sill’
      • ‘If directed, prime the glass surface with a conditioning product.’
      • ‘For Sea Form, Bontecou raked wet printer's ink on a primed plastic surface to depict an ethereal, six-pointed star shape that evokes a feathery nest or squirming creature.’
    3. 1.3 Pour or spray liquid into (a pump) before starting in order to seal the moving parts and facilitate its operation:
      ‘ensure a sufficient head of water is available to prime the pump’
      • ‘During CPB surgery, the CPB pump must be primed with crystalloid solutions to provide an air-free circuit.’
      • ‘The pump should also be filled with oil when it is mounted on the block to prime it and reduce the risk of a dry start.’
      • ‘The pump's valve is put into the well and then its cylinder primed with water to start the process.’
      • ‘If you carefully fill the float bowl of the carb (usually through the bowl vent), the car should start up and run long enough to prime the pump.’
      • ‘If your pharmacist assembled the unit for you, check to see if it has already been primed by pumping the unit once.’
    4. 1.4 Inject extra fuel into (the cylinder or carburettor of an internal combustion engine) in order to facilitate starting.
      • ‘We cleared it off, pumped up the tires, put in a battery, primed the carburetor, and drove it away...what a machine!’
      • ‘After you have primed the carburetor, move the choke to the closed position which is going to seal off the carb throat to enrich the fuel/ air mixture in the first couple of piston fuel compression cycles.’
    5. 1.5[no object] (of a steam engine or its boiler) mix water with the steam being passed into the cylinder.
      • ‘The boiler's metal to water heat exchange surfaces become coated with oil and uneven heat transfer and a violent surging of boiler water (called priming) may occur in extreme conditions.’
      • ‘Priming, which is the carry over of boiler water to the cylinders, is likely to occur when the TDS levels are high making the water more unstable and is more likely to occur running with a high water level, and a heavy steam demand allowing the water to easily be carried over.’
    6. 1.6Medicine Biology Induce a susceptibility or proclivity in (an animal, person, or tissue):
      ‘artificial milk can prime the baby's body for future allergic reactions’
      • ‘Activated T-cells have the Fas molecule - the receptor for FasL - on their surfaces and are primed to attack disease-causing organisms.’
      • ‘So these people will be primed with the DNA vaccine and then boosted with the fowl pox vaccine, and that is what we hope the secret is.’
      • ‘If the vaccinated person ever encounters the actual SARS virus, his or her immune system will be primed to neutralize it.’
      • ‘Only 2% of our patients were primed with sex steroids, and priming would have increased growth hormone secretion in many of the others.’
      • ‘For S-phase to occur, chromatin must be primed to initiate DNA replication at sequences called origins of replication.’
    7. 1.7Biochemistry Serve as a starting material for (a polymerization process):
      ‘the oligonucleotide might prime DNA polymerase activity at multiple sites’
      • ‘To address the foregoing question, we applied the arbitrary primed polymerase chain reaction technique.’
  • 2Prepare (someone) for a situation, typically by supplying them with relevant information:

    [with object and infinitive] ‘the sentries had been primed to admit him without challenge’
    • ‘Shiro waited his turn patiently, but he was fully primed and when his name was finally called he went to the microphone with confidence.’
    • ‘There has been a website devoted to this topic for some time now, the rumour-mill has been grinding, and it looks like the political class has been priming the public for the re-admission of this topic into the mainstream.’
    • ‘I couldn't help but feel he was priming me so I'd say all the right things and sell it on his behalf if he should send anyone around for a look.’
    • ‘Perception is influenced by expectation and expectation is affected by what others prime you for.’
    • ‘In the moments before the cameras switch on, he's edgy, nervous, priming us with questions.’
    • ‘The group is primed and ready to go for a large acquisition but it is a question of finding the right one at the right price, and they will not pay too much.’
    • ‘. Sometimes, people can see different things in a movie when they're primed and ready to watch for them.’
    • ‘I would love to know who primed the interviewer with the questions.’
    • ‘Some of us have the consolation of knowing that lawyers who studied journalism where ethics and social justice are part of the curriculum may be primed to serve the public interest.’
    • ‘We know the feeling of eager anticipation in the hour or two before training, of running the workout through in our minds, of knowing before we even enter the gym that we're primed to unleash our best efforts.’
    • ‘The doctor has primed him to be told it may be prostate cancer and it may have spread to his bowel.’
    • ‘She added that prosecution witnesses in the case would tell how Rhodes tried to prime them prior to their interview by the disciplinary department.’
    • ‘The city is primed for a week-long celebration for this year's Sunshine Festival.’
    • ‘So many of my students come to law school primed by Grisham novels - and the movies based on them - as their introduction to the practice of law.’
    • ‘Will the pundits and talking heads be primed for those moments?’
    • ‘The more you're primed to look at those factors, the more they affect you.’
    • ‘Kathy was primed with the information and rang.’
    • ‘This sequence occurred around halfway through the interview, so the interviewees were primed by then into realizing that more details were expected.’
    • ‘Lacklustre reviews had primed me for disappointment with this one, and perhaps that's why, as I turned each page, my delight and fascination grew.’
    • ‘But I haven't had time to prime them about my small and innocent act of subterfuge.’
    brief, give information to, fill in, prepare, supply with facts, put in the picture, inform, advise, notify, tell, instruct, coach, drill
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • prime the pump

    • Stimulate the growth or success of something by supplying it with money:

      ‘the money was intended to prime the community care pump’
      • ‘It's time to prime the pump and offer up our best tricks and tips in preparation for the big Tournament.’
      • ‘Why hasn't she done anything to help prime the pump for technology in the downstate area, improve our schools, help clean up the Long Island Sound?’
      • ‘Sometimes you just have to prime the pump, make a commitment to be active in your communication.’
      • ‘In the lead-up to year-end elections, the government aims to prime the pump by spending on road and rail improvements.’
      • ‘‘We are using public-benefit funds to prime the pump, but if this product is a success, then hopefully we will get all our money back and then some,’ he says.’
      • ‘MHI needs an editorial team for an online newspaper targeting teenagers and is offering Sony Mini Disc Recorders to prime the pump in a contest closing on June 25, 2004.’
      • ‘Encouraging a steady stream of small ideas helps prime the pump for big ones.’
      • ‘Yet the current government, overzealous to prime the pump, seems unable to resist the temptation to interfere in credit assessments, prodding state banks to lend to particular projects or businesses it accords high priority.’
      • ‘First party has to do the heavy lifting to prime the pump so the publishers can follow suit.’
      • ‘You prime the pump by running it without actually powering up the whole system.’

Origin

Early 16th century (in the sense ‘fill, load’): origin uncertain; probably based on Latin primus first, since the sense expressed is a ‘first’ operation prior to something else.

Pronunciation:

prime

/prʌɪm/