AskDefine | Define primitive

Dictionary Definition

primitive adj
1 belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness; "the crude weapons and rude agricultural implements of early man"; "primitive movies of the 1890s"; "primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains" [syn: crude, rude]
2 little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type; "archaic forms of life"; "primitive mammals"; "the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe" [syn: archaic]
3 used of preliterate or tribal or nonindustrial societies; "primitive societies"
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"


1 a person who belongs to early stage of civilization [syn: primitive person]
2 a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived
3 a word serving as the basis for inflected or derived forms; "`pick' is the primitive from which `picket' is derived"

User Contributed Dictionary



From primitif, from primitivus.



  1. An original or primary word; a word not derived from another; -- opposed to derivative.



  1. Of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church.
  2. Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.
  3. Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.
  4. Occurring in or characteristic of an early stage of development or evolution.




  1. feminine of primitif



  1. Feminine plural form of primitivo

Extensive Definition

Primitive is a subjective label used to imply that one thing is less "sophisticated" or less "advanced" than some other thing. Being a comparative word it is also relative in nature.
Indigenous peoples and their beliefs and practices are sometimes described as "primitive", a usage that is seen as unhelpful and inaccurate by the vast majority of contemporary anthropologists and similar professionals.
There are also various political or theoretical concepts regarding the primitive condition, or its advocation. Primitive communism postulates a pre-agrarian form of communism. Anarcho-primitivism advocates a return to a primitive condition. Luddites had a related philosophy.
Primitive' may refer to:
In mathematics:
In computer science:
In art and entertainment:
primitive in German: Primitivismus
primitive in Modern Greek (1453-): Πριμιτιβισμός
primitive in French: Primitive (homonymie)
primitive in Italian: Primitiva
primitive in Japanese: プリミティブ
primitive in Norwegian: Primitivitet
primitive in Swedish: Primitivism

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bronze Age man, Gothic, Hominidae, Iron Age man, Neanderthal, Stone Age man, ab ovo, abecedarian, aboriginal, aborigine, ancestral, ancient, animal, antediluvian, antenatal, antepatriarchal, anthropoid, ape-man, archaic, atavistic, autochthon, autochthonous, barbarian, barbaric, barbarous, basal, basic, basilar, beginning, bestial, brutal, brutish, budding, bushman, cave dweller, caveman, central, childlike, coarse, cognate, constituent, constitutive, creative, crucial, crude, derivation, derivative, doublet, earliest, earliest inhabitant, early, elemental, elementary, embryonic, endemic, eponym, erstwhile, essential, etymon, fetal, first, first comer, fore, formative, former, fossil man, foundational, fundamental, generative, genetic, germinal, gestatory, gut, homebred, homegrown, hominid, humanoid, ill-bred, immemorial, impolite, in embryo, in its infancy, in ovo, in the bud, inaugural, inceptive, inchoate, inchoative, incipient, incunabular, indigene, indigenous, infant, infantile, initial, initiative, initiatory, introductory, inventive, late, local, local yokel, man of old, material, missing link, naive, nascent, natal, native, native-born, noncivilized, of the essence, old, olden, once, onetime, original, outlandish, parturient, past, patriarchal, persistent, postnatal, preadamite, preglacial, pregnant, prehistoric, prehistoric man, prehuman, prenatal, previous, primal, primary, primate, prime, primeval, primitive settler, primogenial, primoprimitive, primordial, prior, pristine, procreative, protogenic, protohistoric, protohuman, quondam, radical, raw, recent, root, rough, rough-and-ready, rude, rudimental, rudimentary, savage, seminal, simple, simplistic, sometime, substantial, substantive, then, troglodyte, troglodytic, uncivil, uncivilized, uncombed, uncouth, uncultivated, uncultured, underived, underlying, undeveloped, unkempt, unlicked, unpolished, unrefined, unschooled, unsophisticated, untamed, untaught, untrained, untutored, ur, vernacular, wild
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