• WordNet 3.6
    • adj primitive used of preliterate or tribal or nonindustrial societies "primitive societies"
    • adj primitive little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type "archaic forms of life","primitive mammals","the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe"
    • adj primitive belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness "the crude weapons and rude agricultural implements of early man","primitive movies of the 1890s","primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains"
    • adj primitive of or created by one without formal training; simple or naive in style "primitive art such as that by Grandma Moses is often colorful and striking"
    • n primitive a word serving as the basis for inflected or derived forms "`pick' is the primitive from which `picket' is derived"
    • n primitive a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived
    • n primitive a person who belongs to an early stage of civilization
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Among primitive people the soul normally is said to escape through the mouth or nose. In the Celebes, when a person is very sick, his friends will often attach fish hooks in certain places. If the soul tries to escape, it gets hooked.
    • n Primitive An original or primary word; a word not derived from another; -- opposed to derivative.
    • Primitive Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.
    • Primitive Of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church. "Our primitive great sire."
    • Primitive Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The oldest musical instrument is probably the flute. It's been discovered that primitive cave dwellers made an instrument from bamboo or some other small hollow wood.
    • primitive Pertaining to the beginning or origin; original; especially, having something else of the same kind derived from it, but not itself derived from anything of the same kind; first: as, the primitive church; the primitive speech.
    • primitive Characterized by the simplicity of old times; old-fashioned; plain or rude: as, a primitive style of dress.
    • primitive In grammar, noting a word as related to another that is derived from it; noting that word from which a derivative is made, whether itself demonstrably derivative or not.
    • primitive In biology: rudimentary; inceptive; primordial; beginning to take form or acquire recognizable existence: applicable to any part, organ, or structure in the first or a very early stage of its formation: as, the primitive cerebral vesicles (the rudiment of the brain, out of which the whole brain is to be formed). See cut at protovertebra.
    • primitive Primary or first of its kind; temporary and soon to disappear: opposed to definitive: as, the primitive aorta.
    • primitive In botany, noting specific types, in opposition to forms resulting from hybridization.
    • primitive In geology, of the earliest or supposed earliest formation: in the early history of geology noting the older crystalline rocks of which the age and stratigraphical relations were uncertain, and the fossils (where these had once been present) either entirely obliterated or rendered so indistinct by metamorphism of the strata in which they were embedded that their determination was a matter of doubt. Many of the rocks formerly called primitive are now known to be more or less thoroughly metamorphosed Paleozoic strata, and in the progress of geological investigation they have been referred to their place in the series of stratified formations. Other so-called primitive rocks belong to the azoic or archæan series (as this latter term was and still is used by Dana)—that is, they unmistakably underlie unconformably the oldest known fossiliferous strata. These azoic rocks are made up in part of eruptive masses, and in part of highly metamorphosed sedimentary deposits which, so far as can be determined from existing evidence, were deposited before the appearance of life on the earth. As there is much primitive rock of which the geological age has not as yet been fixed, it has been found convenient to designate this simply as crystalline or metamorphic; such rocks are, however, often called archæan; but this cannot be properly done until their infra-Silurian position has been established by observation.
    • primitive a number whose pth power diminished by unity is the lowest power of it divisible by p.
    • primitive a number which satisfies the congruence x l (mod p) and no similar congruence of lower degree.
    • primitive Synonyms and Pristine, etc. See primary.
    • n primitive An original or primary word; a word from which another is derived: opposed to derivative.
    • n primitive An early Christian.
    • n primitive In mathematics, a geometrical or algebraic form from which another is derived, especially an algebraic expression of which another is the derivative; an equation which satisfies a differential equation, or equation of differences, of which it is said to be the primitive (if it has the requisite number of arbitrary constants to form the solution of the differential equation, it is called the complete primitive: see complete); a curve of which another is the polar or reciprocal, etc.
    • primitive In the history of art, belonging to an early and not fully developed period.
    • primitive In group-theory, not imprimitive.
    • n primitive [capitalized] In the fine arts, a craftsman or artist who belongs to an early or under-developed period; especially, in the history of European painting, those painters of Italy, Flanders, Germany, and France who flourished in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, at the close of the medieval period and the beginning of the Renaissance. See painting, 1.
    • n primitive A work of art produced by one of the primitives.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A device invented as a primitive steam engine by the Greek engineer Hero, about the time of the birth of Christ, is used today as a rotating lawn sprinkler.
    • adj Primitive prim′i-tiv belonging to the beginning, or to the first times: original: ancient: antiquated, old-fashioned: not derived: :
    • n Primitive a primitive word, or one not derived from another:
    • adj Primitive prim′i-tiv (biol.) rudimentary, primary or first of its kind
    • adj Primitive prim′i-tiv (geol.) of the earliest formation
    • n Primitive (math.) a form from which another is derived
    • ***


  • Rene Char
    Rene Char
    “In action be primitive; in foresight, a strategist.”
  • Anandabai Joshee
    Anandabai Joshee
    “Had there been no difficulties and no thorns in the way, then man would have been in his primitive state and no progress made in civilization and mental culture.”
  • Stephen B. Leacock
    “The classics are only primitive literature. They belong to the same class as primitive machinery and primitive music and primitive medicine.”
  • Isadora Duncan
    “It seems to me monstrous that anyone should believe that the jazz rhythm expresses America. Jazz rhythm expresses the primitive savage.”
  • Denis Diderot
    “Good music is very close to primitive language.”
  • Norman Mailer
    “Hip is the sophistication of the wise primitive in a giant jungle.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. primitivus, fr. primus, the first: cf. F. primitif,. See Prime (a.)


In literature:

Next in order, we find in this chapter a reflection of the condition of the primitive world.
"Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II" by Martin Luther
If his situation had been nearly primitive in the day it was wholly primitive at night.
"The Great Sioux Trail" by Joseph Altsheler
The method we followed was a very primitive one.
"My Friends the Savages" by Giovanni Battista Cerruti
Nothing could be more primitive.
"Due West" by Maturin Murray Ballou
No hurry, no confusion, no shouting and clamoring for passengers, but all quiet, primitive, and good-humored.
"The Land of Thor" by J. Ross Browne
He had had little training in self-restraint, and his passions were of the primitive sort.
"Heart of the Blue Ridge" by Waldron Baily
The only remains of primitive man known are those found in caves and rock shelters.
"Man And His Ancestor" by Charles Morris
Such cultivation as the plant received in early Abyssinia and Arabia was crude and primitive at best.
"All About Coffee" by William H. Ukers
How primitive all our notions were!
"A Son of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland
What are these other wants of men, aside from the primitive needs for food and shelter?
"The Next Step" by Scott Nearing

In poetry:

MAX, proudly your Aryans pose,
But their rigs they undoubtedly ran,
For, as every Darwinian knows,
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man!
"Double Ballade Of Primitive Man" by Andrew Lang
— Then earth's great architecture swells
Among her mountains and her fells
Under the moon to amplitude
Massive and primitive and rude:
"Moonlight" by Victoria Sackville-West
All thoughts that mould the age begin
Deep down within the primitive soul,
And from the many slowly upward win
To one who grasps the whole:
"An Incident In A Railroad Car" by James Russell Lowell
Oh pardon me, then, if I meekly retire,
With a very small flash of ethereal fire;
No rubbing will kindle your Lucifer match,
If the fiz does not follow the primitive scratch.
"Verses For After-Dinner" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

In news:

And its computer is far more primitive than even the most basic household devices.
Initially, you design a simple, two-dimensional creature that swims through a sea of primitive life.
Liptak Describes the Sequence of Events and the Primitive Controls That Led to the Three Mile Island Accident.
Next Monday's opening of the primitive firearms season is certain to provide many exciting tales for those who have waited all year to hunt deer with black powder.
While the lake at Burchard Wildlife Management Area (WMA) remains closed, the primitive campground below the dam has reopened and is available for hunters this fall.
Comets detected around other stars appear strikingly similar to the most primitive comets in the solar system, researchers say.
The event was held last Saturday afternoon, November 3, at Zion Hope Primitive Baptist Church.
Garnett says he does survival and primitive crafts because it shows him he would be able to make anything that is necessary for primitive survival.
However, the fact that Java also includes Object-ified versions of primitives (i.e.
Native American, Western Antiques & Pioneer Primitive Auction.
Indigo Girls & Primitive Radio Gods.
Each is in great condition and are worth about $100 to $125 to a collector of New England primitives .
Country Cottage offers unique primitive decor.
Primitive farmers share some of the blame for a boost in greenhouse gases, based on a recent over-the-top study.
Universal Primitive : James Laurent & Patty Talbert.

In science:

Let D be the set of integers d > 1 such that either (a) the minimal polynomial of π lies in Z[xd ] or (b) the field Q(πd ) is a proper subfield of Q(π) and there is a primitive dth root of unity ζ in Q(π) such that Q(π) = Q(πd , ζ ).
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field
Then either g ∈ Q[xd ] or there is a primitive dth root of unity ζ in K such that K = L(ζ ).
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field
Let ζ be a primitive dth root of unity in an algebraic closure of K and let M = L(ζ ) ∩ K .
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field
Thus ξ must in fact be a primitive dth root of unity, which shows that ζ ∈ K .
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field
The proof of Lemma 5 shows that we may choose our primitive root of unity ζ so that πσ = ζ π .
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field