- First or foremost in time or development. The primary teeth (the baby teeth) are those that come first. Primary may also refer to symptoms or a disease to which others are secondary. A primary tumor is one that is at the original site at which it arose. For example, a primary brain tumor is one that arose in the brain as opposed to one that arose elsewhere and metastasized (spread) to the brain. The original tumor is sometimes called "the primary."
* * *1. The first or foremost, as a disease or symptoms to which others may be secondary or occur as complications. 2. Relating to the first stage of growth or development. See primordial. [L. primarius, fr. primus, first]
* * *pri·ma·ry 'prī-.mer-ē, 'prīm-(ə-)rē adj1 a ) (1) first in order of time or development (2) relating to or being the deciduous teeth and esp. the 20 deciduous teeth in the human setb ) (1) arising spontaneously: IDIOPATHIC <\primary insomnia> <the absence of any pelvic abnormality confirmed the diagnosis of \primary dysmenorrhea> (2) being an initial tumor or site esp. of cancer <efforts to find the \primary tumor have failed (Raphael Feinmesser)>c) providing primary care <a \primary physician>2) not derivable from other colors, odors, or tastes3) belonging to the first group or order in successive divisions, combinations, or ramifications <\primary nerves>4) of, relating to, or being the amino acid sequence in proteins <\primary protein structure> compare SECONDARY (3), TERTIARY (2c)5) resulting from the substitution of one of two or more atoms or groups in a molecule esp being or characterized by a carbon atom having a bond to only one other carbon atom
* * *pri·mary (priґmar-e) [L. primarius principal; primus first] first in order or in time of development; principal.
Medical dictionary. 2011.