One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1That is generated or produced first; belonging to the earliest stage of existence; original, primitive, primary.
2Zoology. Designating or relating to a species or variety regarded as an evolutionary ancestor of a related modern form.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Fulbecke (1560–?1603), lawyer and historian. From classical Latin prīmigenius first-born, original, primitive + -al.
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