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The Collaborative International Dictionary
Prime minister

Prime \Prime\, a. [F., fr. L. primus first, a superl. corresponding to the compar. prior former. See Prior, a., Foremost, Former, and cf. Prim, a., Primary, Prince.]

  1. First in order of time; original; primeval; primitive; primary. ``Prime forests.''

    She was not the prime cause, but I myself.

    Note: In this sense the word is nearly superseded by primitive, except in the phrase prime cost.

  2. First in rank, degree, dignity, authority, or importance; as, prime minister. ``Prime virtues.''

  3. First in excellence; of highest quality; as, prime wheat; a prime quality of cloth.

  4. Early; blooming; being in the first stage. [Poetic]

    His starry helm, unbuckled, showed him prime In manhood where youth ended.

  5. Lecherous; lustful; lewd. [Obs.]

  6. Marked or distinguished by a mark (') called a prime mark.

  7. (Math.)

    1. Divisible by no number except itself or unity; as, 7 is a prime number.

    2. Having no common factor; -- used with to; as, 12 is prime to 25. Prime and ultimate ratio. (Math.). See Ultimate. Prime conductor. (Elec.) See under Conductor. Prime factor (Arith.), a factor which is a prime number. Prime figure (Geom.), a figure which can not be divided into any other figure more simple than itself, as a triangle, a pyramid, etc. Prime meridian (Astron.), the meridian from which longitude is reckoned, as the meridian of Greenwich or Washington. Prime minister, the responsible head of a ministry or executive government; applied particularly to that of England. Prime mover. (Mech.)

      1. A natural agency applied by man to the production of power. Especially: Muscular force; the weight and motion of fluids, as water and air; heat obtained by chemical combination, and applied to produce changes in the volume and pressure of steam, air, or other fluids; and electricity, obtained by chemical action, and applied to produce alternation of magnetic force.

      2. An engine, or machine, the object of which is to receive and modify force and motion as supplied by some natural source, and apply them to drive other machines; as a water wheel, a water-pressure engine, a steam engine, a hot-air engine, etc.

    3. Fig.: The original or the most effective force in any undertaking or work; as, Clarkson was the prime mover in English antislavery agitation.

      Prime number (Arith.), a number which is exactly divisible by no number except itself or unity, as 5, 7, 11.

      Prime vertical (Astron.), the vertical circle which passes through the east and west points of the horizon.

      Prime-vertical dial, a dial in which the shadow is projected on the plane of the prime vertical.

      Prime-vertical transit instrument, a transit instrument the telescope of which revolves in the plane of the prime vertical, -- used for observing the transit of stars over this circle.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
prime minister

1640s, see prime (adj.) and minister (n.). Applied to the First Minister of State of Great Britain since 1694.

prime minister

n. In a parliamentary democracy, the chief member of the cabinet and head of the government; often the leader of the majority party.

Prime minister

A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime minister is the presiding member and chairman of the cabinet. In a minority of systems, notably in semi-presidential systems of government, a prime minister is the official who is appointed to manage the civil service and execute the directives of the head of state.

In parliamentary systems fashioned after the Westminster system, the prime minister is the presiding and actual head of government and head of the executive branch. In such systems, the head of state or the head of state's official representative (i.e. the monarch, president, or governor-general) usually holds a largely ceremonial position, although often with reserve powers.

The prime minister is often, but not always, a member of parliament and is expected with other ministers to ensure the passage of bills through the legislature. In some monarchies the monarch may also exercise executive powers (known as the royal prerogative) that are constitutionally vested in the crown and may be exercised without the approval of parliament.

As well as being head of government, a prime minister may have other roles or titles—the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, for example, is also First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Prime ministers may take other ministerial posts—for example, during the Second World War, Winston Churchill was also Minister of Defence (although there was then no Ministry of Defence), and in the current cabinet of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu also serves as Minister of Communications, Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation, Economy and Interior

Prime Minister (disambiguation)

The prime minister is the most senior member of the cabinet in a parliamentary system of government.

It may also refer to:

  • The Prime Minister (novel), a novel by Anthony Trollope
  • The Prime Minister (film), a biography of former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
  • Prime Minister (TV series) (also known as Ekipa), a 2007 Polish political drama
  • Prime Minister (band), a Russian band
  • Prime Minister (rapper), a Christian rap/hip-hop artist
Prime Minister (Flight of the Conchords)

"Prime Minister" is the seventh episode of the second season of the HBO comedy series Flight of the Conchords. This episode first aired in the United States on March 1, 2009.

Prime minister (Chu State)

The post of lingyin , translated as prime minister or chancellor, was an official government position established in the Chu state during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history (771 – 475 BCE).

King Wu of Chu (reigned 740 – 690 BCE) first established the position of lingyin which remained the most important government office in Chu until its destruction by the Qin state in 223 BCE.

The post was normally given to a member of the Chu king's family and records show that only two Chu lingyins were not related to the Chu king. They were Peng Zhongshuang , a civilian from the Shen state, at the time of King Wen of Chu (reigned 689 – 677 BCE) and the Wei general Wu Qi during the reign of King Dao of Chu (reigned 401 – 381 BCE).

Usage examples of "prime minister".

With a slight shiver, the Prime Minister got up and moved over to the window, looking out at the thin mist that was pressing itself against the glass.

He rang him and offered him a lift to the Prime Minister's London home.

The Prime Minister looked down at his big hands as if disbelieving what they'd done.

The Japanese Prime Minister hoped that wasn't a mistake as he watched the President of the United States come down the steps, then approach the Durling children.

It struck the Prime Minister that Ryan, like most Westerners, was not very skilled at concealing his inner thoughts, but that wasn't true, was it?