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Adjective, Noun


Noun primitive has 3 senses

Adjective primitive has 4 senses


primitivea. [L. primitivus, fr. primus the first: cf. F. primitif. See Prime, a.].
  •  Of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church.  Milton.  [1913 Webster]
  •  Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.  [1913 Webster]
  •  Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.  [1913 Webster]
Primitive axes of coördinate (Geom.), that system of axes to which the points of a magnitude are first referred, with reference to a second set or system, to which they are afterward referred. -- Primitive chord (Mus.), that chord, the lowest note of which is of the same literal denomination as the fundamental base of the harmony; -- opposed to derivative. Moore (Encyc. of Music). -- Primitive circle (Spherical Projection), the circle cut from the sphere to be projected, by the primitive plane. -- Primitive colors (Paint.), primary colors. See under Color. -- Primitive Fathers (Eccl.), the acknowledged Christian writers who flourished before the Council of Nice, A. D. 325. Shipley. -- Primitive groove (Anat.), a depression or groove in the epiblast of the primitive streak. It is not connected with the medullary groove, which appears later and in front of it. -- Primitive plane (Spherical Projection), the plane upon which the projections are made, generally coinciding with some principal circle of the sphere, as the equator or a meridian. -- Primitive rocks (Geol.), primary rocks. See under Primary. -- Primitive sheath. (Anat.) See Neurilemma. -- Primitive streak or Primitive trace (Anat.), an opaque and thickened band where the mesoblast first appears in the vertebrate blastoderm.
Syn. -- First; original; radical; pristine; ancient; primeval; antiquated; old-fashioned.
     An original or primary word; a word not derived from another; -- opposed to derivative.  [1913 Webster]


primitive, adj. & n.
1 early, ancient; at an early stage of civilization (primitive man).
2 undeveloped, crude, simple (primitive methods).
3 original, primary.
4 Gram. & Philol. (of words or language) radical; not derivative.
5 Math. (of a line, figure, etc.) from which another is derived, from which some construction begins, etc.
6 (of a colour) primary.
7 Geol. of the earliest period.
8 Biol. appearing in the earliest or a very early stage of growth or evolution.
1 a a painter of the period before the Renaissance. b a modern imitator of such. c an untutored painter with a direct na{iuml}ve style. d a picture by such a painter.
2 a primitive word, line, etc.

the Primitive Church the Christian Church in its earliest times.
primitively adv. primitiveness n.
ME f. OF primitif -ive or L primitivus first of its kind f. primitus in the first place f. primus first



Bronze Age man, Gothic, Hominidae, Iron Age man, Neanderthal, Stone Age man, ab ovo, abecedarian, aboriginal, aborigine, ancestral, ancient, animal, antediluvian, antenatal, antepatriarchal, anthropoid, ape-man, archaic, atavistic, autochthon, autochthonous, barbarian, barbaric, barbarous, basal, basic, basilar, beginning, bestial, brutal, brutish, budding, bushman, cave dweller, caveman, central, childlike, coarse, cognate, constituent, constitutive, creative, crucial, crude, derivation, derivative, doublet, earliest, earliest inhabitant, early, elemental, elementary, embryonic, endemic, eponym, erstwhile, essential, etymon, fetal, first, first comer, fore, formative, former, fossil man, foundational, fundamental, generative, genetic, germinal, gestatory, gut, homebred, homegrown, hominid, humanoid, ill-bred, immemorial, impolite, in embryo, in its infancy, in ovo, in the bud, inaugural, inceptive, inchoate, inchoative, incipient, incunabular, indigene, indigenous, infant, infantile, initial, initiative, initiatory, introductory, inventive, late, local, local yokel, man of old, material, missing link, naive, nascent, natal, native, native-born, noncivilized, of the essence, old, olden, once, onetime, original, outlandish, parturient, past, patriarchal, persistent, postnatal, preadamite, preglacial, pregnant, prehistoric, prehistoric man, prehuman, prenatal, previous, primal, primary, primate, prime, primeval, primitive settler, primogenial, primoprimitive, primordial, prior, pristine, procreative, protogenic, protohistoric, protohuman, quondam, radical, raw, recent, root, rough, rough-and-ready, rude, rudimental, rudimentary, savage, seminal, simple, simplistic, sometime, substantial, substantive, then, troglodyte, troglodytic, uncivil, uncivilized, uncombed, uncouth, uncultivated, uncultured, underived, underlying, undeveloped, unkempt, unlicked, unpolished, unrefined, unschooled, unsophisticated, untamed, untaught, untrained, untutored, ur, vernacular, wild




N beginning, commencement, opening, outset, incipience, inception, inchoation, introduction, alpha, initial, inauguration, debut, le premier pas, embarcation, rising of the curtain, maiden speech, outbreak, onset, brunt, initiative, move, first move, narrow end of the wedge, thin end of the wedge, fresh start, new departure, origin, source, rise, bud, germ, egg, rudiment, genesis, primogenesis, birth, nativity, cradle, infancy, start, inception, creation, starting point, dawn, evolution, title-page, head, heading, van, caption, fatihah, entrance, entry, inlet, orifice, mouth, chops, lips, porch, portal, portico, propylon, door, gate, gateway, postern, wicket, threshold, vestibule, propylaeum, skirts, border, first stage, first blush, first glance, first impression, first sight, rudiments, elements, outlines, grammar, alphabet, ABC, beginning, initial, initiatory, initiative, inceptive, introductory, incipient, proemial, inaugural, inchoate, inchoative, embryonic, rudimental, primogenial, primeval, primitive, primordial, aboriginal, natal, nascent, first, foremost, leading, maiden, begun, just begun, at the beginning, in the beginning first, in the first place, imprimis, first and foremost, in limine, in the bud, in embryo, in its infancy, from the beginning, from its birth, ab initio, ab ovo, ab incunabilis, ab origine, let's get going!, let's get this show on the road!, up and at 'em!, aller Anfang ist schwer, dimidium facti qui coepit habet, omnium rerum principia parva sunt.


N oldness, age, antiquity, cobwebs of antiquity, maturity, decline, decay, senility, seniority, eldership, primogeniture, archaism, thing of the past, relic of the past, megatherium, Sanskrit, tradition, prescription, custom, immemorial usage, common law, old, ancient, antique, of long standing, time-honored, venerable, elder, eldest, firstborn, prime, primitive, primeval, primigenous, paleolontological, paleontologic, paleoanthropological, paleoanthropic, paleolithic, primordial, primordinate, aboriginal, diluvian, antediluvian, protohistoric, prehistoric, antebellum, colonial, precolumbian, patriarchal, preadamite, paleocrystic, fossil, paleozoolical, paleozoic, preglacial, antemundane, archaic, classic, medieval, Pre-Raphaelite, ancestral, black-letter, immemorial, traditional, prescriptive, customary, whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contr, inveterate, rooted, antiquated, of other times, rococo, of the old school, after-age, obsolete, out of date, out of fashion, out of it, stale, old-fashioned, behind the age, old-world, exploded, gone out, gone by, passe, run out, senile, time worn, crumbling, secondhand, old as the hills, old as Methuselah, old as Adam, old as history, Archeozoic, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, Precambrian, Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary, Paleogene, Neocene, Quaternary, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent, since the world was made, since the year one, since the days of Methuselah, vetera extollimus recentium incuriosi.


N cause, origin, source, principle, element, occasioner, prime mover, primum mobile, vera causa, author, mainspring, agent, leaven, groundwork, foundation, spring, fountain, well, font, fountainhead, spring head, wellhead, fons et origo, genesis, descent, remote cause, influence, pivot, hinge, turning point, lever, crux, fulcrum, key, proximate cause, causa causans, straw that breaks the camel's back, ground, reason, reason why, why and wherefore, rationale, occasion, derivation, final cause, les dessous des cartes, undercurrents, rudiment, egg, germ, embryo, bud, root, radix radical, etymon, nucleus, seed, stem, stock, stirps, trunk, tap-root, gemmule, radicle, semen, sperm, nest, cradle, nursery, womb, nidus, birthplace, hotbed, causality, causation, origination, production, caused, causal, original, primary, primitive, primordial, aboriginal, protogenal, radical, embryonic, embryotic, in embryo, in ovo, seminal, germinal, at the bottom of, connate, having a common origin, because, behind the scenes, causa latet vis est notissima, felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.

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