Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: ANTHROPOLOGY

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Latin
Origin: primitivus, from primus; PRIME1

primitive

1 adjective
     
prim‧i‧tive1
1

way of life

SA belonging to a simple way of life that existed in the past and does not have modern industries and machines [≠ advanced, modern]:
a primitive society
a primitive nomadic tribe
the tools used by primitive man
primitive art
2

not modern

something that is primitive is very simple and does not have the extra modern parts that would make it faster, better, more comfortable etc [≠ advanced, modern]:
The first station buildings were quite primitive.
The local hospital care is primitive and unreliable.
Conditions at the camp are very primitive.
a primitive steam engine
3

animals/plants

SA a primitive animal or plant has a simple structure or body:
primitive life-forms that live deep in the ocean
a primitive single-celled creature
4

feelings

primitive feelings are not based on reason, and seem to come from a part of people's character that is ancient and animal-like:
the primitive instinct of survival
primitive desires
primitively adverb
primitiveness noun [uncountable]
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