pri·mate (prīmĭt, -māt′)
1. (prīmāt′) Any of various mammals of the order Primates, which consists of the lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, and apes including humans, and is characterized by nails on the hands and feet, a short snout, and a large brain.
2. A bishop of highest rank in a province or country.
[From New Latin Prīmātēs, order name, from Latin prīmātēs, pl. of prīmās, principal, of first rank, from prīmus, first; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. Sense 2, from Middle English primat, from Old French, from Medieval Latin prīmās, prīmāt-, from Latin.]
pri·matial (-māshəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.