(noun, adjective)


1. belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness

- primitive movies of the 1890s

- primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains

Similar word(s): early, crude, rude

2. little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type

- primitive mammals

- the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe

Similar word(s): early, archaic

3. used of preliterate or tribal or nonindustrial societies

- primitive societies

Similar word(s): noncivilised, noncivilized

4. 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

Similar word(s): untrained, naive

Sentences with primitive as an adjective:

- primitive innocence;

- a primitive style of dress

- a primitive verb


1. a person who belongs to an early stage of civilization

Definition categories: person, individual, mortal, somebody, someone, soul

2. a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived

Definition categories: communication, expression, formula

3. a word serving as the basis for inflected or derived forms

- `pick' is the primitive from which `picket' is derived

Definition categories: communication, word