Primary Pri"ma*ry, a. [L. primarius, fr. primus first: cf. F. primaire. See {Prime}, a., and cf. {Premier}, {Primero}.] 1. First in order of time or development or in intention; primitive; fundamental; original. [1913 Webster]

The church of Christ, in its primary institution. --Bp. Pearson. [1913 Webster]

These I call original, or primary, qualities of body. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

2. First in order, as being preparatory to something higher; as, primary assemblies; primary schools. [1913 Webster]

3. First in dignity or importance; chief; principal; as, primary planets; a matter of primary importance. [1913 Webster]

4. (Geol.) Earliest formed; fundamental. [1913 Webster]

5. (Chem.) Illustrating, possessing, or characterized by, some quality or property in the first degree; having undergone the first stage of substitution or replacement. [1913 Webster]

{Primary alcohol} (Organic Chem.), any alcohol which possess the group {CH2.OH}, and can be oxidized so as to form a corresponding aldehyde and acid having the same number of carbon atoms; -- distinguished from {secondary & tertiary alcohols}.

{Primary amine} (Chem.), an amine containing the amido group, or a derivative of ammonia in which only one atom of hydrogen has been replaced by a basic radical; -- distinguished from {secondary & tertiary amines}.

{Primary amputation} (Surg.), an amputation for injury performed as soon as the shock due to the injury has passed away, and before symptoms of inflammation supervene.

{Primary axis} (Bot.), the main stalk which bears a whole cluster of flowers.

{Primary colors}. See under {Color}.

{Primary meeting}, a meeting of citizens at which the first steps are taken towards the nomination of candidates, etc. See {Caucus}.

{Primary pinna} (Bot.), one of those portions of a compound leaf or frond which branch off directly from the main rhachis or stem, whether simple or compounded.

{Primary planets}. (Astron.) See the Note under {Planet}.

{Primary qualities of bodies}, such are essential to and inseparable from them.

{Primary quills} (Zo["o]l.), the largest feathers of the wing of a bird; primaries.

{Primary rocks} (Geol.), a term early used for rocks supposed to have been first formed, being crystalline and containing no organic remains, as granite, gneiss, etc.; -- called also {primitive rocks}. The terms Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary rocks have also been used in like manner, but of these the last two only are now in use.

{Primary salt} (Chem.), a salt derived from a polybasic acid in which only one acid hydrogen atom has been replaced by a base or basic radical.

{Primary syphilis} (Med.), the initial stage of syphilis, including the period from the development of the original lesion or chancre to the first manifestation of symptoms indicative of general constitutional infection.

{Primary union} (Surg.), union without suppuration; union by the first intention. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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