# Prime vs. Prize: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on September 26, 2023

**Prime refers to being of first importance or quality, while a prize refers to something awarded to one as a reward for merit, a victory, or a lottery.**

## Key Differences

Prime and prize, while sounding similar, denote completely different concepts. Prime is a multifaceted word that primarily indicates superior quality or importance. It represents the finest level of quality, emphasizing the significance or the high degree of something. For example, prime cuts of meat represent the best pieces, and the prime of life signifies the period when a person is at their most vigorous stage.

Conversely, prize pertains to an award or recognition given as an acknowledgment of achievement or victory. It is something given to someone as a reward for their excellence, merit, or accomplishment in various fields like academics, sports, arts, etc. The prize stands as a tangible symbol of recognition, emphasizing the value and appreciation of the recipient’s efforts, talents, or skills.

Prime can also represent a numerical concept, referring to prime numbers in mathematics, which are greater than one and can only be divided by one and themselves without a remainder. It serves as a fundamental concept in the field of mathematics, underscoring the importance of number theory and its applications in various mathematical disciplines and real-world scenarios.

Prize, in a different context, can be used as a verb meaning to value or esteem something highly. In this sense, it underscores the emotional or subjective importance attached to something, reflecting personal values, preferences, or desires. For instance, one might prize a family heirloom due to its sentimental value and the emotional connection it holds.

The difference between prime and prize is not only in their meanings but also in their applications. While prime is an adjective describing the superior quality, importance, or a mathematical concept, prize is a noun representing an award or recognition, or a verb depicting the act of valuing something highly. These distinctive definitions and applications underscore the richness and versatility of the English language, highlighting the multifarious ways words can be interpreted and utilized.

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## Comparison Chart

### Part of Speech

Adjective, Noun

Noun, Verb

### Meaning

Of first importance or quality; a number greater than 1 with no positive divisors other than 1 and itself

An award given as recognition or reward; to value highly

### Usage

Describes quality, importance, or a mathematical concept

Represents an award or act of valuing something highly

### Example

Prime minister, prime number

Nobel Prize, prize possession

### Field

Mathematics, General Descriptions

Awards, Recognition, Value

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## Prime and Prize Definitions

#### Prime

The period of most success, vigor, or happiness.

She is enjoying the prime of her career.

#### Prize

Something awarded to one as a token of victory or excellence.

She won a prize in the science competition.

#### Prime

Prepare someone or something for action or use.

He primed the pump before turning it on.

#### Prize

Value highly; cherish.

He prizes his reputation above all else.

#### Prime

First or highest in rank or importance; main

Our prime consideration is for the children's safety. See Usage Note at perfect.

#### Prize

Regard as particularly rare or valuable.

The vintage car is his prize possession.

#### Prime

Highest in quality; excellent

Prime real estate.

#### Prize

Something seized or captured, especially an enemy's ship and cargo captured at sea in wartime.

The pirate's prize was laden with gold.

#### Prime

Being the most desired or suitable example of something

A prime candidate for the study.

#### Prize

Something offered or won as an award for superiority or victory, as in a contest or competition.

#### Prime

Of or relating to the USDA highest grade of beef, having abundant marbling and usually only sold at restaurants.

#### Prize

Something offered or won in a lottery or similar game of chance.

#### Prime

First or early in time, order, or sequence

The prime action of the drug.

#### Prize

Something worth striving for; a highly desirable possession.

#### Prime

(Mathematics) Of, relating to, or being a prime number.

#### Prize

Something seized by force or taken as booty, especially an enemy ship and its cargo captured at sea during wartime.

#### Prime

The period of greatest physical and mental robustness

Athletes in the prime of their lives.

#### Prize

Chiefly Southern US Something used as a lever or for prying.

#### Prime

The period of best performance or peak activity

This car is definitely past its prime.

#### Prize

Offered or given as a prize

A prize cup.

#### Prime

To make ready; prepare

Guard dogs primed for attack.

#### Prize

Given a prize, or likely to win a prize

A prize cow.

#### Prime

To prepare (a gun or mine) for firing by inserting a charge of gunpowder or a primer.

#### Prize

Worthy of a prize; first-class

Our prize azaleas.

#### Prime

To prepare for operation, as by pouring water into a pump or gasoline into a carburetor.

#### Prize

To value highly; esteem or treasure.

#### Prime

To prepare (a surface) for painting by covering with size, primer, or an undercoat.

#### Prize

To estimate the worth of; evaluate.

#### Prime

To inform or instruct beforehand; coach.

#### Prize

To move or force with a lever; pry

Prized open the antique chest.

#### Prime

To become prepared for future action or operation.

#### Prize

That which is taken from another; something captured; a thing seized by force, stratagem, or superior power.

#### Prime

First in importance, degree, or rank.

Our prime concern here is to keep the community safe.

#### Prize

Anything captured by a belligerent using the rights of war; especially, property captured at sea in virtue of the rights of war, as a vessel.

#### Prime

First in time, order, or sequence.

Both the English and French governments established prime meridians in their capitals.

#### Prize

An honour or reward striven for in a competitive contest; anything offered to be competed for, or as an inducement to, or reward of, effort.

#### Prime

First in excellence, quality, or value.

This is a prime location for a bookstore.

#### Prize

That which may be won by chance, as in a lottery.

#### Prime

Having exactly two integral factors: itself and unity (1 in the case of integers).

Thirteen is a prime number.

#### Prize

Anything worth striving for; a valuable possession held or in prospect.

#### Prime

Such that if it divides a product, it divides one of the multiplicands.

#### Prize

(obsolete) A contest for a reward; competition.

#### Prime

(mathematics) Having its complement closed under multiplication: said only of ideals.

#### Prize

A lever; a pry; also, the hold of a lever.

#### Prime

Marked or distinguished by the prime symbol.

#### Prize

Obsolete form of price

#### Prime

Early; blooming; being in the first stage.

#### Prize

To consider highly valuable; to esteem.

#### Prime

(obsolete) Lecherous, lewd, lustful.

#### Prize

(obsolete) To set or estimate the value of; to appraise; to price; to rate.

#### Prime

(historical) The first hour of daylight; the first canonical hour.

#### Prize

To move with a lever; to force up or open; to prise or pry.

#### Prime

(Christianity) The religious service appointed to this hour.

#### Prize

(obsolete) To compete in a prizefight.

#### Prime

(obsolete) The early morning generally.

#### Prize

Having won a prize; award-winning.

A prize vegetable

#### Prime

The earliest stage of something.

#### Prize

; exceptional.

He was a prize fool.

#### Prime

The most active, thriving, or successful stage or period.

#### Prize

That which is taken from another; something captured; a thing seized by force, stratagem, or superior power.

I will depart my pris, or my prey, by deliberation.

His own prize,Whom formerly he had in battle won.

#### Prime

The chief or best individual or part.

#### Prize

Anything captured by a belligerent using the rights of war; esp., property captured at sea in virtue of the rights of war, as a vessel.

I'll never wrestle for prize more.

I fought and conquered, yet have lost the prize.

#### Prime

(music) The first note or tone of a musical scale.

#### Prize

That which may be won by chance, as in a lottery.

#### Prime

(fencing) The first defensive position, with the sword hand held at head height, and the tip of the sword at head height.

#### Prize

Anything worth striving for; a valuable possession held or in prospect.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

#### Prime

A prime element of a mathematical structure, particularly a prime number.

3 is a prime.

#### Prize

A contest for a reward; competition.

#### Prime

(card games) A four-card hand containing one card of each suit in the game of primero; the opposite of a flush in poker.

#### Prize

A lever; a pry; also, the hold of a lever.

#### Prime

(backgammon) Six consecutive blocks, which prevent the opponent's pieces from passing.

I'm threatening to build a prime here.

#### Prize

Estimation; valuation.

#### Prime

The symbol ′ used to indicate feet, minutes, derivation and other measures and mathematical operations.

#### Prize

To move with a lever; to force up or open; to pry.

#### Prime

Any number expressing the combining weight or equivalent of any particular element; so called because these numbers were respectively reduced to their lowest relative terms on the fixed standard of hydrogen as 1.

#### Prize

To set or estimate the value of; to appraise; to price; to rate.

A goodly price that I was prized at.

I prize it [life] not a straw, but for mine honor.

#### Prime

An inch, as composed of twelve seconds in the duodecimal system.

#### Prize

To value highly; to estimate to be of great worth; to esteem.

I prized your person, but your crown disdain.

#### Prime

(obsolete) The priming in a flintlock.

#### Prize

Something given for victory or superiority in a contest or competition or for winning a lottery;

The prize was a free trip to Europe

#### Prime

A feather, from the wing of the cock ostrich, that is of the palest possible shade.

#### Prize

Goods or money obtained illegally

#### Prime

(cycling) An intermediate sprint within a race, usually offering a prize and/or points.

#### Prize

Something given as a token of victory

#### Prime

(transitive) To prepare a mechanism for its main work.

You'll have to press this button twice to prime the fuel pump.

#### Prize

Hold dear;

I prize these old photographs

#### Prime

(transitive) To apply a coat of primer paint to.

I need to prime these handrails before we can apply the finish coat.

#### Prize

To move or force, especially in an effort to get something open;

The burglar jimmied the lock

Raccoons managed to pry the lid off the garbage pail

#### Prime

To be renewed.

#### Prize

Regard highly; think much of;

I respect his judgement

We prize his creativity

#### Prime

(intransitive) To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.

#### Prize

Of superior grade;

Choice wines

Prime beef

Prize carnations

Quality paper

Select peaches

#### Prime

To work so that foaming occurs from too violent ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and be carried along with, the steam that is formed.

#### Prize

To extract, move, or force open with a lever.

He had to prize the lid off the jar.

#### Prime

To apply priming to (a musket or cannon); to apply a primer to (a metallic cartridge).

#### Prime

To prepare; to make ready; to instruct beforehand; to coach.

To prime a witness

The boys are primed for mischief.

#### Prime

To trim or prune.

To prime trees

#### Prime

(math) To mark with a prime mark.

#### Prime

First in order of time; original; primeval; primitive; primary.

She was not the prime cause, but I myself.

#### Prime

First in rank, degree, dignity, authority, or importance; as, prime minister.

#### Prime

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

#### Prime

Early; blooming; being in the first stage.

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

#### Prime

Lecherous; lustful; lewd.

#### Prime

Marked or distinguished by a mark (´) called a prime mark.

#### Prime

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

#### Prime

The first part; the earliest stage; the beginning or opening, as of the day, the year, etc.; hence, the dawn; the spring.

In the very prime of the world.

Hope waits upon the flowery prime.

#### Prime

The spring of life; youth; hence, full health, strength, or beauty; perfection.

#### Prime

That which is first in quantity; the most excellent portion; the best part.

Give him always of the prime.

#### Prime

The morning; specifically (R. C. Ch.), the first canonical hour, succeeding to lauds.

Early and late it rung, at evening and at prime.

They sleep till that it was pryme large.

#### Prime

The first of the chief guards.

#### Prime

Any number expressing the combining weight or equivalent of any particular element; - so called because these numbers were respectively reduced to their lowest relative terms on the fixed standard of hydrogen as 1.

#### Prime

To apply priming to, as a musket or a cannon; to apply a primer to, as a metallic cartridge.

#### Prime

To lay the first color, coating, or preparation upon (a surface), as in painting; as, to prime a canvas, a wall.

#### Prime

To prepare; to make ready; to instruct beforehand; to post; to coach; as, to prime a witness; the boys are primed for mischief.

#### Prime

To trim or prune, as trees.

#### Prime

To mark with a prime mark.

#### Prime

To be renewed, or as at first.

Night's bashful empress, though she often wane,As oft repeats her darkness, primes again.

#### Prime

To serve as priming for the charge of a gun.

#### Prime

To work so that foaming occurs from too violent ebullition, which causes water to become mixed with, and be carried along with, the steam that is formed; - said of a steam boiler.

#### Prime

A number that has no factor but itself and 1

#### Prime

The period of greatest prosperity or productivity

#### Prime

The second canonical hour; about 6 a.m.

#### Prime

The time of maturity when power and vigor are greatest

#### Prime

Insert a primer into (a gun, mine, charge, etc.) preparatory to detonation or firing;

Prime a cannon

Prime a mine

#### Prime

Cover with a primer; apply a primer to

#### Prime

Fill with priming liquid;

Prime a car engine

#### Prime

First in rank or degree;

An architect of premier rank

The prime minister

#### Prime

Used of the first or originating agent;

Prime mover

#### Prime

Of superior grade;

Choice wines

Prime beef

Prize carnations

Quality paper

Select peaches

#### Prime

Of or relating to or being an integer that cannot be factored into other integers;

Prime number

#### Prime

At the best stage;

Our manhood's prime vigor

#### Prime

Of the best possible quality; excellent.

He is in the prime of his life.

#### Prime

A number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself.

Seven is a prime number.

#### Prime

First in importance; main.

His prime concern is the well-being of his family.

## FAQs

#### Can prime be used to describe age?

Yes, 'in one’s prime' refers to the period of greatest strength, vigor, or success.

#### Can the prize be an object?

Yes, a prize can be a tangible object given as a reward or recognition.

#### Can prime refer to numbers?

Yes, a prime number is a number greater than 1 with no divisors other than 1 and itself.

#### Does prime only refer to something singular?

No, prime can describe any number of items, as in 'prime examples.'

#### Can a prize be monetary?

Yes, prizes can include money, trophies, medals, or other tangible items.

#### Can prize be used as a verb?

Yes, 'prize' can mean to value, cherish, or to force open with a lever.

#### Can prime denote rank?

Yes, as in 'prime minister,' prime can denote the highest or leading rank or position.

#### Does prize always imply competition?

Often, but not always. A prize can also be given for achievement or excellence without competition.

#### Is a prize always tangible?

Most of the time, but it can also represent acknowledgment or recognition.

#### Is prime always indicative of quality?

Yes, prime typically denotes superior quality or importance.

#### Is the Nobel Prize a prize for academics only?

No, it is awarded in several categories including peace and literature.

#### Is every award a prize?

Generally, yes. A prize is typically an award given in recognition of one’s achievements.

#### Can the prime of life refer to happiness?

Yes, it can refer to the period of most success, vigor, or happiness in one’s life.

#### Does prime mean first in time?

It can, as it denotes being first in importance, order, or position.

#### Can prime be a verb?

Yes, as in 'to prime a pump,' meaning to prepare it for use.

About Author

Written by

Janet WhiteJanet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Edited by

Aimie CarlsonAimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.