One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1In the first place, in the highest degree; firstly, primarily, originally.
2Informal. Exceedingly well; excellently; extremely.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Edmund Bolton (?1575/5–?1634), antiquary and historian. From prime + -ly. Compare Anglo-Norman primement first, originally, Spanish primamente firstly, originally, exceedingly well, excellently.
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