Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “primitive”

primitive

adjective     /ˈprɪm.ɪ.tɪv/ US  /-t̬ɪv/
C1 relating to human society at a very early stage of development, with people living in a simple way without machines or a writing system: Primitive races colonized these islands 2,000 years ago. primitive man The spiny anteater is a mammal, although a very primitive one.Prehistory C1 disapproving describes living conditions that are basic, unpleasant, and uncomfortable: Early settlers had to cope with very primitive living conditions.Comfortable and uncomfortable
(Definition of primitive adjective from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of primitive

Definitions of “primitive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

crew

If you crew a boat, or crew for someone on their boat, you help to sail it.

Word of the Day

Blog

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