1. Being or happening first in sequence of time; original.
2. Primary or fundamental: play a primordial role.
3. Biology Belonging to or characteristic of the earliest stage of development of an organism or a part: primordial cells.
A basic principle.
[Middle English, from Late Latin prīmōrdiālis, from Latin prīmōrdium, origin : prīmus, first; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + ōrdīrī, to begin to weave; see ar- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.