1. An amount paid or required, often as an installment payment, for an insurance policy.
a. An amount paid to obtain a loan.
b. An interest payment, usually on a regular basis, on a loan.
3. A sum of money or bonus paid in addition to a regular price, salary, or other amount: Many people are willing to pay a premium to live near the ocean.
a. The amount at which something, such as a security or a currency, is valued above its initial or nominal price.
b. The amount at which a securities option is bought or sold.
a. Something offered free or at a reduced price as an inducement to buy something else: offered the backpack as a premium for students opening new bank accounts.
b. A prize or award.
6. An unusual or high value: Employers put a premium on honesty and hard work.
7. Archaic Payment for training in a trade or profession.
Of superior quality or value: premium gasoline.
at a premium
More valuable than usual, as from scarcity: Fresh water was at a premium after the reservoir was contaminated.
[Latin praemium, inducement, reward : prae-, pre- + emere, to take, buy; see em- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.