Meaning of “primary” in the English Dictionary

"primary" in British English

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primaryadjective

uk /ˈpraɪ.mər.i/ us /ˈpraɪ.mer.i/

primary adjective (MAIN)

B2 more important than anything else; main:

The Red Cross's primary concern is to preserve and protect human life.
The primary responsibility lies with those who break the law.

More examples

  • Her primary purpose in suing the newspaper for libel was to clear her name.
  • Ozone is the earth's primary filter for ultraviolet radiation.
  • The money I earn is extra, my husband's job is our primary source of income.
  • The course's primary aim is to improve students' proficiency in oral Spanish.
  • Although the issues you raise are important, they are not really our primary concern.

primarynoun [ C ]

uk /ˈpraɪ.mə.ri/ us /ˈpraɪ.mer.i/

(Definition of “primary” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"primary" in American English

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primaryadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈprɑɪ·mer·i, -mə·ri/

primary adjective [ not gradable ] (MOST IMPORTANT)

more important than anything else; main:

The primary goal of the space flight was to recover a satellite.

primary adjective [ not gradable ] (IN EDUCATION)

relating to the first part of a child’s education:

the primary grades

primary adjective [ not gradable ] (EARLIEST)

happening first:

the primary stages of development

primarynoun [ C ]

us /ˈprɑɪ·mer·i, -mə·ri/

primary noun [ C ] (ELECTION)

politics & government an election in which people who belong to a political party choose who will represent that party in an election for political office

(Definition of “primary” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"primary" in Business English

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primaryadjective

uk /ˈpraɪməri/ us /ˈpraɪmeri/

more important than anything else:

primary concern/consideration/focus When oil prices started to rise sharply, the primary concern of financial markets was the possibility of inflation.
Newspapers have been the primary source of news for many people for many years.
The CEO has primary responsibility for making day-to-day investment decisions for each fund.

FINANCE, STOCK MARKET used to describe shares, bonds, etc. at the time they are first made available, rather than when they are traded later:

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(Definition of “primary” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)