premier vs. premiere

What is the difference between premier and premiere?

Although premier and premiere are only separated in spelling by a silent E, they are very different in meaning.
Premier, without the final E, is primarily an adjective meaning “first, foremost, or principal in status or importance.” It can also function as a noun, in which case it refers to the head of a government body (usually denoting a prime minister), especially in France or Canada. For example:
  • “She is widely considered the premier violinist in Europe.”
  • “The premier responded to criticism of the government’s response.”
When we add the silent E to form premiere, the pronunciation remains the same: /prɪˈmɪər/. (Although in some dialects, especially British English, it does change slightly, with stress being placed on the first syllable: /ˈprɛmɪˌɛər/.) Primarily, premiere is a noun meaning “the first public performance or showing, as of a play, film, opera, etc.” By extension, the word can also function as a verb meaning “to give or present the first public performance of a play, film, opera, etc.” For example:
  • “Several movie stars appeared at the film’s premiere.”
  • “They chose to first premiere the play in a small theater before eventually moving to Broadway.”
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to remember the difference; we just have to commit the correct meaning of each spelling to memory.
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