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Meaning of primitive

prim•i•tive

Pronunciation: (prim'i-tiv), [key]
— adj.
  1. being the first or earliest of the kind or in existence, esp. in an early age of the world: primitive forms of life.
  2. early in the history of the world or of humankind.
  3. characteristic of early ages or of an early state of human development: primitive toolmaking.
  4. of or pertaining to a preliterate or tribal people having cultural or physical similarities with their early ancestors: no longer in technical use.
  5. unaffected or little affected by civilizing influences; uncivilized; savage: primitive passions.
  6. being in its earliest period; early: the primitive phase of the history of a town.
  7. old-fashioned: primitive ideas and habits.
  8. simple; unsophisticated: a primitive farm implement.
  9. crude; unrefined: primitive living conditions.
    1. of or pertaining to a form from which a word or other linguistic form is derived; not derivative; original or radical.
    2. of or pertaining to a protolanguage.
    3. of or pertaining to a linguistic prime.
  10. primary, as distinguished from secondary.
    1. rudimentary; primordial.
    2. noting species, varieties, etc., only slightly evolved from early antecedent types.
    3. of early formation and temporary, as a part that subsequently disappears.
—n.
  1. someone or something primitive.
    1. an artist of a preliterate culture.
    2. a naive or unschooled artist.
    3. an artist belonging to the early stage in the development of a style.
    4. a work of art by a primitive artist.
    1. a geometric or algebraic form or expression from which another is derived.
    2. a function of which the derivative is a given function.
  2. the form from which a given word or other linguistic form has been derived, by either morphological or historical processes, as take in undertake.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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