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primitive Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a person who belongs to an early stage of civilization
    primitive person.
  2. noun a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived
  3. noun a word serving as the basis for inflected or derived forms
    • `pick' is the primitive from which `picket' is derived
  4. adjective satellite belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness
    crude; rude.
    • the crude weapons and rude agricultural implements of early man
    • primitive movies of the 1890s
    • primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains
  5. adjective satellite little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type
    • archaic forms of life
    • primitive mammals
    • the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe
  6. adjective satellite used of preliterate or tribal or nonindustrial societies
    • primitive societies
  7. adjective satellite of or created by one without formal training; simple or naive in style
    • primitive art such as that by Grandma Moses is often colorful and striking

Prim"i*tive adjective
L. primitivus, fr. primus the first: cf. F. primitif. See Prime, a.
  1. 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." Milton.
  2. Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.
  3. Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar. Syn. -- First; original; radical; pristine; ancient; primeval; antiquated; old-fashioned.
Prim"i*tive noun
  1. An original or primary word; a word not derived from another; -- opposed to derivative.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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