Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “primitive”


adjective    /ˈprɪm·ɪ·t̬ɪv/
of or typical of an early stage of development ; not advanced or complicated in structure : primitive art / tools The pioneers who settled the west had to cope with primitive living conditions .
(Definition of primitive adjective from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of primitive

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Prehistory, but you might be interested in these topics from the History topic area:

Definitions of “primitive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a skilled and trained cook who works in a hotel or restaurant, especially the most important cook

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More