The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Primary \Pri"ma*ry\, a. [L. primarius, fr. primus first: cf. F.
primaire. See Prime, a., and cf. Premier, Primero.]
1. First in order of time or development or in intention;
primitive; fundamental; original.
The church of Christ, in its primary institution.
These I call original, or primary, qualities of
2. First in order, as being preparatory to something higher;
as, primary assemblies; primary schools.
3. First in dignity or importance; chief; principal; as,
primary planets; a matter of primary importance.
4. (Geol.) Earliest formed; fundamental.
5. (Chem.) Illustrating, possessing, or characterized by,
some quality or property in the first degree; having
undergone the first stage of substitution or replacement.
Primary alcohol (Organic Chem.), any alcohol which possess
the group CH2.OH, and can be oxidized so as to form a
corresponding aldehyde and acid having the same number of
carbon atoms; -- distinguished from secondary & tertiary
Primary amine (Chem.), an amine containing the amido group,
or a derivative of ammonia in which only one atom of
hydrogen has been replaced by a basic radical; --
distinguished from secondary & tertiary amines.
Primary amputation (Surg.), an amputation for injury
performed as soon as the shock due to the injury has
passed away, and before symptoms of inflammation
Primary axis (Bot.), the main stalk which bears a whole
cluster of flowers.
Primary colors. See under Color.
Primary meeting, a meeting of citizens at which the first
steps are taken towards the nomination of candidates, etc.
Primary pinna (Bot.), one of those portions of a compound
leaf or frond which branch off directly from the main
rhachis or stem, whether simple or compounded.
Primary planets. (Astron.) See the Note under Planet.
Primary qualities of bodies, such are essential to and
inseparable from them.
Primary quills (Zool.), the largest feathers of the wing of
a bird; primaries.
Primary rocks (Geol.), a term early used for rocks supposed
to have been first formed, being crystalline and
containing no organic remains, as granite, gneiss, etc.;
-- called also primitive rocks. The terms Secondary,
Tertiary, and Quaternary rocks have also been used in like
manner, but of these the last two only are now in use.
Primary salt (Chem.), a salt derived from a polybasic acid
in which only one acid hydrogen atom has been replaced by
a base or basic radical.
Primary syphilis (Med.), the initial stage of syphilis,
including the period from the development of the original
lesion or chancre to the first manifestation of symptoms
indicative of general constitutional infection.
Primary union (Surg.), union without suppuration; union by
the first intention.