Prim"i*tive (?), a. [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.

"Our primitive great sire."



Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.


Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.

Primitive axes of coordinate 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 streaktrace 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.


© Webster 1913.

Prim"i*tive, n.

An original or primary word; a word not derived from another; -- opposed to derivative.


© Webster 1913.