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TSE  November 2006

TSE November 2006

Subject:

Re: Eliot's visit to pre-historic Tombs

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Fri, 3 Nov 2006 21:21:43 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (650 lines)

Diana Manister wrote:
> 
> Carrol, you assume that "primitive" cannot be used other than pejoratively.

I'm not sure it can be used accurately in reference to any peoples known
to modern humans or to any human activity, and certainly not in
reference to any form of human feeling or thought. Consider this usage
in one of your posts:

******Your statement about part of TSE's modern mind being repulsed by
primitive myth may be questionable -- as Peter points out, Old Possum is
a source of paradox! TSE cites sadly the instance of a tribe of
head-hunters who he said "died of boredom" after the British government
forbade the practice. He said their reason for living was removed, and
compared their state to that of the aboulie of overly-civilized moderns!
So one cannot say just how repellent he found savage behavior!****

Leaving aside whether the anecdote re the  alleged headhunters is
accurate, it is grossly misleading to refer to them as "primitive." If
you want to speak of primitive humanity you need to go back at least
40,000 years or so. The paleolithic cultures were _highly_
sophisticated. And if you want to talk about primitive thought or
primitive feeling, you are simply speaking nonsense.

For the fun of it I am including below the OED entry on _primitive_.

Carrol



Show pronunciation* Show spellings* Show etymology* Hide quotations*
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A. adj.    I. General senses. 

1. a. Of or belonging to the first age, period, or stage; pertaining to
early times; earliest, original; early, ancient. Primitive Church, the
Christian Church in its earliest and (by implication) purest times.
{alpha} 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 27 No religyon is founded
hytherto, yt so nere representeth ye primityue chirche of Chryst. c1540
tr. Pol. Verg. Eng. Hist. (Camden) I. IV. 178 Which good primitive
successe purchased him muche quietnes. 1548-9 (Mar.) Bk. Com. Prayer,
Commination, In the prymitiue churche there was a godlye disciplyne,
that at the begynnyng of lente suche persones as were notorious synners
were put to open penaunce. 1581 J. HAMILTON Cath. Traictise in Cath.
Tractates (S.T.S.) 76 According to the ancient estait of the premetiue
kirk. 1603 HOLLAND Plutarch's Mor. 671 The primitive generation came
first and immediatly from the earth, but afterwards..they breed their
yoong. 1669 FLAMSTEED in Rigaud Corr. Sci. Men (1841) II. 77 That
illustrious body [the Royal Society], of which you have stood a
primitive member. 1795 BURKE Corr. (1844) IV. 285, I wish very much to
see..an image of a primitive Christian Church. 1858 LONGFELLOW M.
Standish IX. 89 Like a picture it seemed of the primitive, pastoral
ages, Fresh with the youth of the world, and recalling Rebecca and
Isaac. a1878 SIR G. G. SCOTT Lect. Archit. (1879) I. 5 The great valleys
of Egypt and Mesopotamia..were the cradles of primitive art. {beta} 1486
Hen. VII at York in Surtees Misc. (1888) 54 This rigalitie, Whos
primative patrone I peyre to your presence, Ebraunk of Britane. 1534
MORE Treat. Passion Wks. 1346/2 It was knowen..unto the primatiue
churche or congregacion of chrysten people. 1589 COOPER Admon. 217 The
practise of the primatiue Church. 1630 PRYNNE Anti-Armin. 119 Adam in
his primatiue estate. 

b. Applied to behaviour or mental processes that apparently originate in
unconscious needs or desires and have not been affected by objective
logical reasoning. 
1910 Amer. Jrnl. Psychol. XXI. 115 The following investigation of
children's spontaneous constructions and primitive activities is made in
the hope..that a clearer, saner insight into the child's nature and
needs may follow. 1919 M. K. BRADBY Psycho-Anal. iii. 28 The mind is
unevenly developed, and what is relatively primitive co-exists with what
is advanced without completely harmonising with it. 1923 L. A. CLARE tr.
Lévy-Bruhl's Primitive Mentality 32 If then, primitive mentality avoids
and ignores logical thought, if it refrains from reasoning and
reflecting, it is not from incapacity to surmount what is evident to
sense. 1924 Brit. Jrnl. Med. Psychol. IV. 32 Synthetic or intuitional
conceptions of the unconscious, based on analogies with primitive
notions and behaviour. 1962 M. GABAIN tr. Piaget's Moral Judgment of
Child ii. 189 It is not nearly so natural as one would think for
primitive thought to take intentions into account. 

2. a. Having the quality or style of that which is early or ancient. In
first quot. = Conformed to the pattern of the early church (see 1a).
Also, Simple, rude, or rough like that of early times; old-fashioned.
(With implication of either commendation or the reverse.) 
1685 EVELYN Diary 2 Oct., The Church of England..is certainely, of all
the Christian professions on the earth, the most primitive, apostolical
and excellent. Ibid. 26 Oct., A maiden of primitive life,..who..has for
many years refus'd marriage, or to receive any assistance from the
parish. 1752 H. WALPOLE Lett. (1846) II. 459 A poor good primitive
creature. 1822 W. IRVING Braceb. Hall iii, Her manners are simple and
primitive. 1838 LYTTON Alice II. ii, At her very primitive wardrobe.
1889 G. FINDLAY Eng. Railway 9 The engines employed [in 1830] were of an
extremely primitive character. Comb. 1847 HOOK Eccl. Biog. III. 546
(Chad) Struck by the worth of this primitive-mannered christian. 1865
Cornh. Mag. July 40 To..hear such primitive-sounding words
as..‘overtune’ for the burden of a song. 

b. Anthrop. That relates to a group, or to persons comprising such
groups, whose culture, through isolation, has remained at a simple level
of social and economic organization. [1781 GIBBON Decl. & F. III.
xxxviii. 638 From this abject condition, perhaps the primitive and
universal state of man.] 1903 C. S. MYERS in Rep. Cambr. Anthropol.
Exped. Torres Straits II. II. 143 Stories which travellers relate about
the remarkable capacity possessed by primitive peoples for
distinguishing faint sounds amid familiar surroundings, cannot be
accepted as evidence of an unusually acute hearing. 1920 R. H. LOWIE
Primitive Society (1921) i. 12 The knowledge of primitive society has an
educational value that should recommend its study. 1938 R. BUNZEL in F.
Boas Gen. Anthropol. 333 There are..certain primitive societies where
the accumulation of wealth is considered undesirable. 1954 R. FIRTH in
Inst. Primitive Society ii. 15 As I (and I think most of my colleagues)
use it, ‘primitive’ is little more than a technological index{em}a
shorthand term for a type of economic life in which the tool system and
level of material achievement is fairly simple: little use of metals; no
complex mechanical apparatus; no indigenous system of writing. 1963
Brit. Jrnl. Sociol. XIV. 21 Many books by social anthropologists have
titles which include the word primitive. When we use this word..we refer
to a low level of technology which limits social relationships to a
narrow range. 1976 J. FRIEDL Cultural Anthropol. viii. 316 The primitive
economy is one that is controlled exclusively by the local community. 

3. Original as opposed to derivative; primary as opposed to secondary;
esp. said of that from which something else is derived; radical. (Cf.
PRIMARY a. 3a.) c1400 Lanfranc's Cirurg. 65 (Add. MS.) {Th}ere be{th}
o{th}ere causes {th}at be{th} clepyd causes prymytiff. 1543 TRAHERON
Vigo's Chirurg. 26/2 It commeth of the cause primitiue thoroughe
brusynge or breakyng. 1581 MULCASTER (title) Positions wherin those
Primitive Circumstances be Examined, which are Necessarie for the
Training vp of Children. a1628 PRESTON New Covt. (1634) 27 God is the
primitive, he is the originall, he is the first, the universal cause.
1678 CUDWORTH Intell. Syst. 854 Life and Understanding, Soul and Mind
are to them, no Simple and Primitive Natures, but Secondary and
Derivative. 1812 BRACKENRIDGE Views Louisiana (1814) 38 This valley is
confined by what may be termed, as distinguished from the alluvions,
primitive ground. 1846 GROTE Greece I. xv. (1862) I. 238 The primitive
ancestor of the Trojan line of kings is Dardanus. 

II. Special and technical senses. 

4. a. Gram. and Philol. Of a word or language: Original, radical:
opposed, or correlative to derivative. 
1530 PALSGR. Introd. 29 Of pronownes there be thre chefe sortes,
primityves, derivatyves, and demonstratyves. Ibid., Pronownes primityves
be fyve, je, tu, se, nous, vous. 1612 BRINSLEY Lud. Lit. viii. (1627)
123 The primitiue word whereof they come, or some words neere vnto them.
1687 A. LOVELL tr. Thevenot's Trav. I. 36 The Turkish Language is a
primitive and original Language, that's to say, not derived from any of
the Oriental or Occidental Tongues that we have any knowledge of. 1706
PHILLIPS s.v., Primitive Word (in Grammar) an original Word, from which
others of the kind are derived. 1824 L. MURRAY Eng. Gram. (ed. 5) I.
iii. 55 A primitive word is that which cannot be reduced to any simpler
word in the language: as, man, good, content. 1856 R. A. VAUGHAN Mystics
(1860) I. 18 To have a distinction in the primitive and not in the
derivative word is always confusing. 

b. Philol. Applied to a parent language at an early, unrecorded, or
reconstructed stage of its development into a group of dialects or
languages. 
1878 T. L. KINGTON-OLIPHANT Old & Middle Eng. i. 13 The Primitive Aryan
katvar changes to the Gothic fidwor (our four). 1895 KELLNER & BRADLEY
Morris's Hist. Outl. Eng. Accidence (rev. ed.) iii. 30 The Teutonic
languages differ much more from Primitive Aryan in the consonants than
in the vowels. 1898 Primitive Germanic [used s.v. GERMANIC a. 2]. 1914
H. C. WYLD Short Hist. Eng. ii. 32 Parent, or Primitive Germanic, was
divided into three great branches. 1920 Trans. Philol. Soc. 1916-20 129
(heading) Primitive Slavonic. 1933 L. BLOOMFIELD Language i. 13 If a
language is spoken over a large area,..the result will be a set of
related languages... We infer that..the Germanic (or the Slavic or the
Celtic)..have arisen in the same way; it is only an accident of history
that for these groups we have no written records of the language, as it
was spoken before the differentiation set in. To these unrecorded parent
languages we give names like Primitive Germanic (Primitive Slavic,
Primitive Celtic, and so on). [Note] The word primitive is here poorly
chosen, since it is intended to mean only that we happen to have no
written records of the language. German scholars have a better device in
their prefix ur- ‘primeval’. 1972 M. L. SAMUELS Linguistic Evol. 2. The
alternation corresponding to stand-stood was regular in the
Indo-European system, and so with that corresponding to seek-sought in
Primitive Germanic. 

5. a. Math., etc. Applied to a line or figure from which some
construction or reckoning begins; or to a curve, surface, magnitude,
equation, operation, etc., from which another is in some way derived, or
which is not itself derived from another. primitive circle or plane, the
circle or plane upon which projection is made. primitive radii, in
geared wheels, = PROPORTIONAL radii. 
1690 LEYBOURN Curs. Math. 668b, The Meridian passing through L is the
Primitive Circle. 1727-41 CHAMBERS Cycl. s.v. Number, Primitive or prime
Number, is that which is only divisible by unity. 1831 BREWSTER Optics
xxi. 185 The plane R r s, or the plane in which the light is polarised,
is called the plane of primitive polarisation. 1864 WEBSTER s.v.,
Primitive axes of co-ordinates, that system of axes to which the points
of a magnitude are first referred with reference to a second set or
system, to which they are afterward referred. 1878 GURNEY Crystallogr.
34 The great circle is called the primitive. 1895 STORY-MASKELYNE
Crystallogr. ii. 25 The plane of projection thus bounded by a great
circle of the sphere is represented by the plane of the paper on which
the circle is drawn, which latter will be termed the circle of
projection or primitive circle. 

b. Cryst. Applied to a fundamental crystalline form from which all the
other forms may be derived by geometrical processes; the form obtained
by cleaving the crystal, inferred to be that of the nucleus from which
the crystal grew. primitive cell, the smallest unit cell of any
particular lattice, having lattice points at each of its eight corners
only; primitive lattice, a lattice generated by the repeated translation
of a primitive cell. 
1805-17 R. JAMESON Char. Min. (ed. 3) 136 This new regular form is by
Hauy named the Primitive nucleus; and the crystal whose form is the same
the Primitive form. 1807 T. THOMSON Chem. (ed. 3) II. 536 The primitive
form of muriate of barytes is, according to Hauy, a four-sided prism,
whose bases are squares. 1831 BREWSTER Optics xxv. 214 This
mineral,..called cubizite, has been regarded by mineralogists as having
the cube for its primitive form. 1931 Zeitschr. f. Kristallogr. LXXIX.
501 The cell chosen is..not necessarily the primitive, i.e. smallest
cell, as such a cell would often demand a description in oblique and
inconvenient axes. But it is always either the primitive cell or a one-
or three-face-centred or a body-centred cell. 1932 Ann. Rep. Progr.
Chem. XXVIII. 263 P stands for primitive lattice. Ibid., The
rhombohedral lattice is designated by R, and the hexagonal by C or H
according as the crystallographic axes coincide with or are
perpendicular to the primitive translations of the lattice. 1945 C. W.
BUNN Chem. Crystallogr. vii. 223 In a set of symbols characterizing a
space-group, the first is always a capital letter which indicates
whether the lattice is simple (P for primitive), body-centred (I for
inner), side-centred (A, B, or C), or centred on all faces (F). 1966
McGraw-Hill Encycl. Sci. & Technol. III. 595/1 The three primitive cells
of the cubic lattices are, respectively, a cube, a rhombohedron with a
plane angle of 109° 28´, and a rhombohedron with an angle of 60°. The
two rhombohedra are extremely inconvenient to handle; consequently, the
body-centered and face-centered cubes are adopted in their stead. 1974
D. M. ADAMS Inorg. Solids ii. 12 In general it is convenient to work
with the cell of highest symmetry and this is not necessarily primitive. 

c. Applied to any root of an integer n such that the least power to
which the root can be raised to yield unity modulo n is the totient of
n. 
1837 J. HYMERS Treat. Theory Algebraical Equations x. 193 If r be one of
the roots and a be a primitive root of the prime number n..it is
proved..that all the roots of this equation may be represented by r, ra,
[etc.]. 1916 G. A. MILLER et al. Theory & Applic. Finite Groups xv. 308
For any prime p, it is shown in the theory of numbers that there exists
a primitive root g of p such that 1, g, g2, .., gp-2, when divided by p,
give in some order the remainders 1, 2, 3, .., p - 1. 1972 J. E. & M. W.
MAXFIELD Discovering Number Theory viii. 65 A primitive root (mod m)
exists for m = 2, 4, pa, and 2pa, where p is an odd prime and a is a
positive integer. There is no primitive root for other values of m. 

d. Group Theory. [tr. G. primitiv (S. Lie Theorie der
Transformationsgruppen (1888) I. xiii. 221).] Applied to a substitution
group whose letters cannot be partitioned into disjoint proper subsets
in a way that is preserved by every element of the group. 
1888 Amer. Jrnl. Math. X. 300 A group in the plane is primitive when
with each ordinary point which we hold, no invariant direction is
connected. 1897 W. BURNSIDE Theory of Groups of Finite Order ix. 177 A
simple group can always be represented in primitive form. 1933 L. P.
EISENHART Continuous Groups of Transformations ii. 80 The group of
motions in the euclidean plane is primitive. 1968 D. PASSMAN Permutation
Groups i. 14 Let G be a transitive permutation group of prime degree.
Then G is primitive. 

e. Logic and Math. [tr. It. primitive (G. Peano 1897, in Atti della R.
Accad. delle Sci. di Torino XXXII. 568).] Applied to concepts and
propositions that serve as the basis of a deductive system and are not
further defined or demonstrated; primitive recursive (see RECURSIVE a.
2a). 
1903 B. RUSSELL Princ. Math. p. xi (heading) Two indefinables and ten
primitive propositions in this calculus. 1910 WHITEHEAD & RUSSELL
Principia Math. I. I. i. 95 Following Peano, we shall call the undefined
ideas and the undemonstrated propositions primitive ideas and primitive
propositions respectively. 1922 tr. Wittgenstein's Tractatus 121 The
possibility of crosswise definition of the logical ‘primitive signs’ of
Frege and Russell shows by itself that these are not primitive signs and
that they signify no relations. 1932 LEWIS & LANGFORD Symbolic Logic i.
23 Thus it is proved that these primitive ideas and postulates for logic
are the only assumptions required for the whole of mathematics. 1952 P.
GEACH tr. Frege's Philos. Writings 161 The same happens for the formula
a = b. In some cases its meaning can be assumed as a primitive idea, in
others it is defined. 1959 M. BUNGE Causality ix. 233 Neither Aristotle
nor his followers seem to have been aware of the logical necessity of
admitting..a set of unexplained or primitive concepts and ideas in order
to avoid reasoning in a circle. 1970 E. DUCKWORTH tr. Piaget's Genetic
Epistemol. 7 Simultaneity, then, is not a primitive intuition; it is an
intellectual construction. 

f. Applied to those nth roots of unity of which the nth power, but no
lower power, is unity. 
1916 G. A. MILLER et al. Theory & Applic. Finite Groups xvii. 325 For ps
= 9, the six primitive ninth roots of unity are {rho}, {rho}2, {rho}4,
{rho}5, {rho}7, {rho}8 and are the roots of x6 + x3 + 1 = 0. 1971 E. C.
DADE in Powell & Higman Finite Simple Groups viii. 274 We conclude that
F contains a primitive eth root of unity. 

6. Of colours: = PRIMARY a. 6a. 
1759 SYMMER in Phil. Trans. LI. 368 He ranged a number of ribbands, of
all the primitive colours. 1822 J. IMISON Sc. & Art I. 247 As a ray of
the sun may be separated into these seven primitive colours. 1867 J.
HOGG Microsc. I. ii. 27 The primitive rays{em}red, yellow, and
blue{em}of which a colourless ray of light is composed. 

7. Geol. Belonging (or supposed to belong) to the earliest geological
period; applied to those rocks or formations held to be older than any
fossiliferous strata, or of which the contained fossils have been
obliterated by metamorphism; = PRIMARY a. 4a (in its obs. sense). 
1777 HAMILTON in Phil. Trans. LXVIII. 106 Most of the mountains which
are called primitive..are of this texture. 1813 BAKEWELL Introd. Geol.
(1815) 446 Those rocks which are called primitive, in reality the
original coat of the nucleus of our planet. 1842 BRANDE Dict. Sc., etc.
s.v. Geology, The crystalline, massive, and unstratified rocks, which
seem to form the bases or foundations upon which the others have been
deposited..have therefore been called primary or primitive rocks. 1863
A. C. RAMSAY Phys. Geog. iv. (1878) 45 The term Primitive, as applied to
gneiss, is no longer tenable. 

8. Biol., Anat., etc.    a. Applied to a part or structure in the first
or a very early stage of formation or growth (whether temporary and
subsequently disappearing, or developing into the fully formed
structure); rudimentary, primordial. primitive streak or trace, the
faint streak which constitutes the earliest trace of the embryo in the
fertilized ovum; primitive groove,    (a) = primitive streak;    (b) a
groove or furrow which appears (in vertebrates) in the upper surface of
the primitive streak, and marks the beginning of the vertebral
column.    b. Applied to the minute or ultimate elements of a structure,
or to some part connected with these: as the primitive fibrillæ of a
nerve; the primitive sheath investing each of these (also called
neurilemma).    c. Rarely applied to a structure from which secondary
structures arise by branching, as the primitive carotid artery: see
quot. 1895. 
1857 DUNGLISON Dict. Med. 435/2 Primitive Groove, Primitive streak or
trace.., a bright streak in the long axis of the pellucid part of the
area germinativa, after it presents a central pellucid and a peripheral
opake part. 1879 tr. Haeckel's Evol. Man I. 299 In the centre of the
primitive streak an even, dark line, the so-called primitive groove,
becomes defined. 1884 BOWER & SCOTT De Bary's Phaner. 345 These are
called by Dippel bast-fibres, and by Russow protophloem, because they
appear as the primitive elements of the phloem. 1888 ROLLESTON & JACKSON
Anim. Life Introd. 29 The cells [of the mesoblast] arise..from the
primitive streak behind the blastopore in Peripatus. 1895 Syd. Soc.
Lex., Primitive carotid artery..the common carotid artery... P. iliac
artery,..the common iliac artery. 1899 Allbutt's Syst. Med. VIII. 547 It
[i.e. pityriasis rosea] usually begins as a solitary patch situated in
the neck, trunk, abdomen, or arms,{em}the ‘primitive patch’ of Brocq. 

9. Mus. Applied to a chord in its original or direct form, not inverted. 
1811 BUSBY Dict. Mus. s.v., Primitive Chord, that chord the lowest note
of which is of the same literal denomination as the fundamental bass of
the harmony. The chord taken in any other way, as when its lowest note
is the third, or the fifth of the fundamental bass, is called a
derivative. 

10. Primitive Methodist Connexion (subsequently Church): a society of
Methodists founded by Hugh Bourne in 1810 by secession from the main
body; so called as adhering to the original methods of preaching, etc.,
practised by the Wesleys and Whitefield. Primitive Methodist: a member
or adherent of this society. Primitive Methodism: the principles of this
society, or adherence to it. Also Primitive Baptist: in the U.S.A., a
member of a loosely organized secession of conservative character from
the Baptist Church; also attrib. The Primitive Methodist Connexion
(after 1902 known as Primitive Methodist Church) united in 1932 with the
United Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists to form the Methodist Church.
The Primitive Methodist Church, U.S.A., remains however a separate
denomination. 
1812 H. BOURNE Jrnl. in J. Gardner Faiths World II. 426 Thursday,
February 13, 1812, we called a meeting, made plans for the next quarter,
and made some other regulations; in particular, we took the name of the
Primitive Methodist Connexion. 1851 T. A. BURKE Polly Peablossom's
Wedding 143 Brethren Crump and Noel were both members of the Primitive
Baptist Church. 1856 in N. E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 288 Was
recived by examinytion on the primitive baptis faith. 1860 J. GARDNER
Faiths World II. 428/1 Open-air worship is frequently practised by the
Primitive Methodists. 1872 Z. N. MORRELL Flowers & Fruits vi. 72 There
was also an organization calling themselves ‘Primitive Baptists’, on the
Colorado River. 1933 Sun (Baltimore) 24 Aug. 6/4 Elder A. J.
Harrison..was elected head of the Ketockin Association, Old School,
Primitive Baptists. 1948 Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Okla.) 15 July 14/1
The Washita Valley Primitive Baptist association will meet at the
Primitive Baptist church here, July 22. 1972 J. S. HALL Sayings from Old
Smoky 144 Dave Reagan said of the Primitive Baptists, ‘They are just
like yellow jackets. They'd 'cruit [recruit] up in summer, and in winter
they'd all die out.’. 

11. Art.    a. Applied to the art and artists of pre-Renaissance western
Europe. [1843 A. DE MONTOR (title) Peintres primitifs.] 1847 LD. LINDSAY
Sk. Hist. Christian Art II. ii. 93, I strongly suspect an ancestral
relation between them [sc. the frescoes of the Baptistery at Parma] and
the primitive and interesting school of Bologna. 1857 G. SCHARF Handbk.
Paintings by Anc. Masters (Art Treasures Exhib., Manchester) 5
Ottley,..an earnest student of the earlier periods of Italian art, had
formed a small, but very authentic, collection of primitive works. 1923
J. GORDON Mod. French Painters ix. 94 In the early Italian primitive
painters, and, indeed, in primitives of every order, we find beneath the
artists' learning the foundations laid upon what may be called folk
painting. 1927 R. FRY Flemish Art I. 24 This realization of space
implies a sense of colour as a plastic function which is also almost
entirely absent in primitive Flemish art. 1932 KONODY & LATHOM Introd.
French Painters i. 3 What is known as primitive French painting is a
hybrid art, composed of Italian, French, Spanish and German elements in
varying proportions. 1970 Oxf. Compan. Art 925/1 Within the European
context art historians and connoisseurs have used the term ‘primitive’
for early phases within the historical development of painting or
sculpture in the various European countries. 

b. Executed by one who has not been trained in a formal manner. Also,
imitative of an early style suggesting lack of formal training. Of an
artist: without formal training. Cf. NAÏF a. 1b, NAÏVE a. 1c. 
1942 J. LIPMAN Amer. Primitive Painting 5 The critic..has come..to
evaluate primitive art positively rather than negatively. Ibid. 7 The
primitive artist typically allowed himself free rein in depicting pose,
gesture..and background. 1952 M. MCCARTHY Groves of Academe (1953) viii.
148 On the walls were dark paintings of the first presidents, clergymen
and theologians, a primitive engraving showing William Penn and the
Indians. 1957 Primitive painting [see NAÏVE a. 1c]. 1962 W. GAUNT
Everyman's Dict. Pictorial Art I. 12 A native development [in U.S.A.] of
great interest in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was that of a
‘primitive’ or folk art, practised by sign painters and other craftsmen
and amateurs. 1964 J. SUMMERSON Classical Lang. Archit. v. 39 Laugier's
primitivism..certainly appealed to him [sc. Sir John Soane] but he was
prepared to go much further than Laugier in..inventing a ‘primitive’
order of his own. 1967 Primitive portrait [see mourning-piece s.v.
MOURNING vbl. n.1 5]. 1976 Sunday Times (Colour Suppl.) 8 Feb. 7/3 Beryl
Cook, seaside landlady and primitive painter, talks to Allen Saddler.
1978 I. MURDOCH Sea 126 Hartley and Fitch were sitting stiff and
upright, like a married pair rendered by a primitive painter. 

12. primitive accumulation (Econ.): in Marxist theory, the original
accumulation of capital, supposedly derived from the expropriation of
small producers or smallholders, from which capitalist production was
able to start; hence primitive socialist accumulation: the accumulation
of capital which would be needed to start socialist production, also to
be derived from the expropriation of small producers, smallholders, or
peasants. 
1887 MOORE & AVELING tr. Marx's Capital II. VIII. xxvi. 736 The whole
movement..seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only
get by supposing a primitive accumulation..preceding capitalistic
accumulation. Ibid., This primitive accumulation plays in Political
Economy about the same part as original sin in theology. Ibid. 738 The
so-called primitive accumulation..is nothing else than the historical
process of divorcing the producer from the means of production. 1935 E.
BURNS Handbk. Marxism xvi. 258 The so-called primitive accumulation of
capital consisted in this case in the expropriation of these immediate
producers. 1950 A. ERLICH in Q. Jrnl. Econ. LXIV. 69 This formative
period of modern capitalism..had now to find its counterpart in
‘primitive socialist accumulation’ which was assumed to serve as midwife
in the same way for the socialist society of the future. 1959 Listener
29 Oct. 726/1 Trotsky proposed to carry through this Draconian
programme, of what he called ‘primitive socialist accumulation’ without
Stalin's terrible methods. 1965 B. PEARCE tr. Preobrazhensky's New Econ.
67 If we partly exclude the operation of the law of value..we must
accordingly replace its regulatory action by another law, inherent in
planned economy at its present stage of development{em}the law of
primitive socialist accumulation. 1967 I. DEUTSCHER Marxism in our Time
(1972) 242 It was out of the question that a country like this should be
able to achieve socialism in such circumstances. It had to devote all
its energies to ‘primitive accumulation’, that is, to the creation under
state ownership of the most essential economic preliminaries to any
genuine building of socialism. 

B. n.    I. Senses related to A. 1. 

1. An original or early member of a society or body.    {dag}a. A
primitive Christian; a member of the early Church. Obs. 
1600 W. WATSON Decacordon (1602) Pref. Aiijb, Did not then the
primitiues of the East Church amongst the Christians carry away the
auriflambe of all religious Zeale? 1651-3 JER. TAYLOR Serm. for Year I.
xiii. 173 The fervors of the Apostles, and other holy primitives. 1686
EVELYN Diary 7 Mar., The severall afflictions of the Church of Christ
from the primitives to this day. 

b. An original inhabitant, an aboriginal; a man of primitive (esp.
prehistoric) times. Also transf., someone uncivilized, uncultured. 
1779 FORREST Voy. N. Guinea 273 The Haraforas, who seem to be the
primitives of the island. 1895 Daily News 13 May 6/3 The effects sought
here relate to the ‘primitives’ of the Irish heroic age. 1924 Brit.
Jrnl. Med. Psychol. IV. 35 The primitive has in many ways a contact with
his environment of a refinement and subtlety that is more than a match
for civilized brains. 1926 L. A. CLARE tr. Lévy-Bruhl's How Natives
Think 13 Primitives... By this term, an incorrect one, yet rendered
almost indispensable through common usage, we simply mean members of the
most elementary social aggregates with which we are acquainted. a1936
KIPLING Something of Myself (1937) vii. 184 Out of the woods..came two
dark and mysterious Primitives. 1967 [see CHARLEY, CHARLIE 8]. 1972
Buenos Aires Herald 2 Feb. 7/1 The primitives fight for their
territories and economic planners insist that the vast region must be
opened. 1977 M. COHEN Sensible Words iii. 122 The newly emphasized
methods of linguistic analysis include studying the language of children
and ‘primitives’. 

{dag}2. pl. The primitive or earliest stage; the ‘beginnings’. Obs.
rare. 
1600 W. WATSON Decacordon (1602) 52 Probably..in the primitiues of their
institutions they had better, lowlier, and more religious spirits then
now they haue. 1609 BIBLE (Douay) Exod. xxix. 28 They are the primitives
and beginninges of their pacifique victimes which they offer to the
Lord. 

3. Short for Primitive Methodist: see A. 10. 
1855 J. R. LEIFCHILD Cornwall Mines 303 Those worthy though singular
people, the Primitives of Redruth. 1906 Essex Rev. XV. 135 The
‘Primitives’ in their little thatched and clay-lump chapel. 

4. In art criticism:    a. A painter of the early period, i.e. before
the Renaissance; also transf. a modern painter who imitates the style of
these. More recently, a naïve painter; also transf. of artists working
in another medium.    b. A picture painted by any of these. Also
attrib., and transf. of other art forms. 
1892 Spectator 30 Jan. 168/1 O impressionist, do I find you among the
primitives? 1892 Athenæum 13 Feb. 220/3 In Italy artists we call
‘primitives’, such as Crivelli..still adhered to the early manner while
Titian was in his glory. 1895 Westm. Gaz. 7 Feb. 3/3 On the left as you
enter the room are some notable examples of what may be considered
‘primitives’. 1907 Edin. Rev. July 237 Among the work of the Italian
‘primitives’ towns are pretty common in the background. 1907 R. FRY Let.
5 Mar. (1972) I. 282 A great Ferrarese altarpiece... The effect will be
fine in our Primitive room. 1910 E. SINGLETON Art of Belgian Galleries
i. 17 The Last Supper is one of the most profound and best-painted works
of the Fifteenth Century; and if one were to make a list of five or six
supreme masterpieces of the Flemish Primitives, this would have to be
included. 1922 C. BELL Since Cézanne 51 One definitely artistic
gift..many children do possess..is a sense of the decorative
possibilities of their medium. This gift they have in common with the
Primitives; and this the douanier possessed in an extraordinary degree.
1923 [see PRIMITIVE a. 11a]. 1932 F. F. SHERMAN Early Amer. Painting p.
xv, Numerous dealers in antiques..offer them for sale..as ‘primitives’.
Primitives they certainly are not... They are worthless as works of art
or of antiquity. 1934 Musical Q. Apr. 214 The Primitives stem from
Moussorgsky, through Debussy and the Sacre. 1947 G. GREENE 19 Stories
155 The first season of ‘primitives’ [sc. films] was announced (a
high-brow phrase). 1951 R. FIRTH Elem. Social Organiz. v. 163 When we
talk..of the Italian primitives..we are referring..to art that is
distinguished primarily by being earlier in time, though it..also bears
the character of lack of sophistication. 1952 O. KALLIR in A. M. Moses
Grandma Moses p. xv, Grandma Moses is called a ‘primitive’. Each of her
pictures shows plainly that its author has had no art training. 1958
Listener 21 Aug. 269/2 The school of the ‘primitives’, represented by
John Osborne, Sheelagh Delaney, and..Bernard Kops. 1959 E. POUND Thrones
ci. 78 Hs'uan Tsung, 1389 natus, painted kittens, and Joey said, ‘are
they for real’ before primitives in the Mellon Gallery. 1964 MRS. L. B.
JOHNSON White House Diary 20 Jan. (1970) 56 There was also a little
American Primitive{em}just made you merry to look at it. 1974 P. DE
VRIES Glory of Hummingbird (1975) iii. 39 We respected the artist's [sc.
a writer's] reluctance to show portions of work not in sufficiently
polished form because we felt..that here was a true primitive. 1976
Sunday Times (Colour Suppl.) 8 Feb. 22/1 Most of all, her paintings are
funny. You can't say that about many primitives. 1977 Jrnl. R. Soc. Arts
CXXVI. 35/2 The Flemish Primitives..would superimpose the dark colours
and leave the pale colours transparent. 

II. Senses related to A. 3. 

5. An original ancestor or progenitor (of humans or animals). ? Obs. 
1486 Hen. VII at York in Surtees Misc. (1888) 54, I [Ebrauk] am
premative of your progenie. 1530 LYNDESAY Test. Papyngo 771 {Ygh}e bene,
all, Degenerit frome {ygh}our holy prematyuis. a1677 HALE Prim. Orig.
Man. II. vii. 201 The various kinds of Dogs..might in their Primitives
be of one Species. 

6. Gram. A word from which another or others are derived; a root-word.
Opp. to derivative. Also, = PHONETIC n. 
1565 COOPER Thesaurus *iv, Whether the worde be a Primitiue, or
Deriuatiue deduced of some other. 1657-8 EVELYN Diary 27 Jan., He..got
by heart almost the entire vocabularie of Latine and French primitives.
1755 JOHNSON Dict. Pref. Bjb, Of thieflike or coachdriver no notice was
needed, because the primitives contain the meaning of the compounds.
1759 ADAM SMITH Orig. Lang. (1790) 451 All the words in the Greek
Language are derived from about 300 primitives. 1814 J. MARSHMAN Elem.
Chinese Gram. 36 If we then add the 214 elements to the 1689 primitives,
we shall have one thousand nine hundred and three characters producing
nearly the whole language. 1820 Q. Rev. Jan. 314 The absence of all
distinction between primitives and derivatives. 1874, 1907 [see PHONETIC
n.]. 1909-10 L. BLOOMFIELD in C. F. Hockett Leonard Bloomfield Anthol.
(1970) 1 Derivative nouns and verbs also stand..in a definite ablaut
relation to their primitives. 1975 Language LI. 969 It. bozz-ello..is an
authentic derivative from bozza; while bosel, bossel, bozel in
Renaissance French is a cluster of completely isolated forms lacking a
primitive{em}a situation which reflects on the grammatical status of
-el. 

7. Anything from which something else is derived; in quot. 1784, a
primitive or primary colour. 
1628 T. SPENCER Logick 139 These arguments haue the same force to argue,
that the primitiues haue, from which they are derived. 1784 J. BARRY in
Lect. Paint. vi. (1848) 211 Yellow, red, and blue... These three
uncompounded primitives. 

8. Math. Any algebraical or geometrical form in relation to another
derived from it; as, the original expression or function of which
another is the derivative; the original equation from which a
differential equation, etc. is obtained; the original curve of which
another is the polar, inverse, evolute, etc. spec. a complete primitive.
(Short for primitive expression, equation, curve, etc.: see A. 5.)
complete primitive: a primitive equation containing the requisite number
of constants to furnish the solution of the derived equation. 
1885 A. R. FORSYTH Treat. Differential Equations i. 8 The relation,
which exists between the variables themselves without their differential
coefficients and which is the most general one possible, is called
sometimes the general solution, and sometimes the primitive, of the
differential equation. 1929 T. C. FRY Elem. Differential Equations ii.
27 This relation includes every possible solution of the differential
equation. It is called the general solution or primitive. 1969 B. SPAIN
Ordinary Differential Equations i. 9 Obtain the differential equations
corresponding to the primitives..y = c log x..[etc.]. 

9. Logic and Math. A primitive concept or proposition (see A. 5e). Also
in extended use. 
1950 Jrnl. Symbolic Logic XV. 130 Hence {phi} and {mu} as defined above
will suffice as the sole primitives for the arithmetic of positive
integers. 1960 G. BERGMAN Meaning & Existence ii. 44 It is not required
that an improved language be interpreted by interpreting separately all,
or even any, of its primitives. 1964 M. BLACK Compan. Wittgenstein's
Tractatus 25 We find Wittgenstein..constantly returning to the theme of
the ‘logical indefinables’ or the ‘logical primitives’. 1964 R. H.
ROBINS Gen. Linguistics iv. 133 Many linguists are prepared to accept
these terms [sc. contrast and distinctive] as primitives, i.e. as
requiring no further definition within linguistics. 1975 Language LI.
621 We are not yet in a position to characterize seriously the semantic
representation of roots. My guess is that we are not yet aware of the
majority of semantic primitives. 1975 M. A. SLOTE Metaphysics & Essence
iii. 41 This notion of (an) experience, like the other notions we have
been using as primitives, is not just an arbitrary primitive with which
to attempt the definition of the concepts we wish to define. 1976 J. S.
GRUBER Lexical Struct. Syntax & Semantics II. i. 260 Interpretive
semantics is valuable only for those functions which a logical calculus
entails, and for this it must operate on trees of semantic primitives. 

ADDITIONS SERIES 1993 

primitive, a. and n. 

Add:    [B.] 10. Computing. A simple operation or procedure, esp. one of
a limited set from which more complex operations or procedures may be
constructed; also spec. in computer graphics, a simple geometric shape
which may be generated by such a subroutine. Cf. senses A. 5 a and e
above. 
1958 Communications Assoc. Computing Machinery Feb. 1 By ‘primitive’ is
meant a self-sufficient routine; a second-generation routine is one
which calls on one or more primitives. 1968 Pattern Recognition I. 170
Any one of the halfplanes determined by the sides of the polygon will
actually be a parallel translation of the halfplanes Hi determined by
the chosen directions. These halfplanes play the role of primitives or
signs. 1971 N. CHAPIN Computers xiv. 381 An operation may be a macro in
one programing language and a primitive in another. 1985 Practical
Computing Sept. 83/2 Graphic primitives{em}arcs, lines, etc.{em}are
generated on an internal CRT, with automatic exposure control as
standard. 

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