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a. Of or relating to an early or original stage or state; primeval: life in the primitive ocean.
b. Occurring in or characteristic of an early stage of development or evolution: fossils of primitive angiosperms from the Cretaceous Period.
c. Having developed early in the evolutionary history of a group: Hair is a primitive trait of mammals.
d. Regarded as having changed little in evolutionary history. Not in scientific use: The coelacanth is a primitive fish.
2. Characterized by simplicity or crudity; unsophisticated: primitive weapons.
3. Of or relating to a nonindustrial, often tribal culture, especially one that is characterized by an absence of literacy and a low level of economic or technological complexity: primitive societies.
4. Not derived from something else; primary or basic: "Conscious perception is ... the most primitive form of judgment" (Alfred North Whitehead).
5. Linguistics
a. Serving as the basis for derived or inflected forms: Pick is the primitive word from which picket is derived.
b. Being a protolanguage: primitive Germanic.
6. Not resulting from conscious thought or deliberation; unconscious or instinctual: primitive passions.
a. Of or created by an artist without formal training; simple or naive in style.
b. Of or relating to late medieval or pre-Renaissance European painters or sculptors.
1. A person belonging to a nonindustrial, often tribal society, especially a society characterized by a low level of economic or technological complexity.
2. Derogatory An unsophisticated or unintelligent person.
3. One that is at a low or early stage of development.
a. One belonging to an early stage in the development of an artistic trend, especially a painter of the pre-Renaissance period.
b. An artist having or affecting a simple, direct, unschooled style, as of painting.
c. A work of art created by a primitive artist.
5. Linguistics
a. A word or word element from which another word is derived by morphological or historical processes or from which inflected forms are derived.
b. A basic and indivisible unit of linguistic analysis. Also called prime.
6. Mathematics An algebraic or geometric expression from which another expression is derived.
7. Computers A basic or fundamental unit of machine instruction or translation.

[Middle English, from Old French primitif, primitive, from Latin prīmitīvus, from prīmitus, at first, from prīmus, first; see per in Indo-European roots.]

prim′i·tive·ly adv.
prim′i·tive·ness, prim′i·tiv′i·ty n.


a less common word for primitiveness
References in periodicals archive ?
To distinctively refer to ATR as primitive makes less meaning as all religions have some elements of primitivity thus, strictly speaking, religion in its original or simpler form is no longer in existence (Awolalu, 1976; Kano, 2014).
El toro negro symbolizes a constant reminder of primitivity, a ceaseless extension of the past within the present, which the Spanish community shows no desire of throwing into oblivion.
The concept of primitivity as used in Jung's work specifically is then drawn out in detail, posing it as the opposite of individualization as well as contrasting "childish" vs "primordial" interpretations in different racial contexts.
This is a people whose primitivity sets a record, their level of education borders on total ignorance, and yet worse is their lack of ability to absorb anything spiritual .
He said: "It is a kind of primitivity, to arrest someone by bringing a charge of insulting the president, and has no instance in any country of Europe.
I have talked about themes of the body, primitivity, and the spirit in the estimation of Mailer's endorsement of Imamu Amiri Baraka.
Lewis's observations here anticipate Emiko Saldivar's (2014) argument that, instead of dispensing with racial categories and alleviating blackness's stigma and the racing of subaltern and Indigenous populations, mestizaje accommodates a move towards urban modernity in which the perceived poverty, hardship, and primitivity of Indian life gives way to a whiter and wealthier Mexican future.
There is a clear progression, in Humboldt's account, from the primitivity of the forest to the more advanced stage of culture and civilization marked by plowed fields: "In this first zone are felt the preponderance of force, and the abuse of power, which is a necessary consequence.
But the above studies are all limited to knowledge representation and construction of text knowledge elements, and the primitivity and objectivity of knowledge representation should be studied in depth.
Synge admired their hard work and moral restraint even as they exhibited symptoms of an imputed wildness and primitivity.