primary, v.

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Tue Feb 8 22:24:31 UTC 2005

(None of these senses are in the OED yet, or in any of the other major
dictionaries.  Nothing in _Hatchet Jobs and Hardball_ either.)

* primary, v. intr. 'to hold a primary election'

1916 _Fort Wayne News_ (Ind.) 22 July 1/2 Texas Democrats today are
primarying on everything from prohibition to dog warden and from school
bonds to United States senator.

* primary, v. intr. 'to run in a primary election'

1978 _Syracuse Herald Journal_ (NY) 22 Mar. 25/5 Robert Byrne, who
previously announced he was considering primarying against Walsh for the
Republican nomination, is in the race and has set up a committee to draft

1995 _News-Times_ (Danbury, Conn.) 2 Nov. (online) Winkler primaried to
win the party's endorsement over a candidate favored by Hapanowich, he

1997 _Westbury Times_ (NY) 13 Nov. (online) One of the last races I ran
was up in Albany, where we primaried against their Democratic machine.

* primary, v. trans. 'to oppose (someone) in a primary election'

1982 _New York Times_ 30 May (Westchester Weekly) 8/6 Then, in 1969, when
the Board of Legislators was formed out of the old Board of Supervisors, I
was selected by the Republicans for the Port Chester seat, but John
primaried me and won - by about 95 votes.

1982 _Syracuse Herald Journal_ (NY) 19 Sep. A8/2 Wortley claims Lee could
have challenged Democratic Congressman Stanley Lundine in the 34th
District, or primaried Oneida County Executive Sherwood Boehlert, a
Republican, in the 25th District.

2005 _Montgomery Advertiser_ (Ala.) 16 Jan. (online) "Getting Daschled" is
now a real concern for many liberal members of Congress in both political
parties, but especially for Democrats. Yet, because their base is so
left-wing, liberal Democrats also fear getting "primaried," that is,
losing to another liberal in their party's primary.

And a few nonce forms...

* white primaried, ppl. a. 'subjected to all-white primary elections (as
in the Southern U.S. during the Jim Crow era)'

1904 T. WATSON in C. V. Woodward _Tom Watson_ (1938) 370 What can the
negro do? He has been disfranchised in nearly every southern state, except
Georgia, and in Georgia he has been "white primaried."
[in turn cited by: M. Perlman _Struggle for Mastery_ (2001) 285

* outprimaried, ppl. a. 'outwitted or outmaneuvered in a primary election'

1908 _Sandusky Star Journal_ (Ohio) 23 Jan. 8/3 The senator was
out-primaried, if we may use that term.

* unprimaried, ppl. a. 'unopposed in a primary election'

1982 _Syracuse Herald Journal_ (NY) 12 Sep. E2/5 Had Lee decided to run in
any district other than the 27th, both he and Wortley would probably have
gone un-primaried into the November election.

--Ben Zimmer

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