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primer (n.1)

late 14c., "prayer-book, layperson's devotional manual," also "school book" (senses not distinguished in Middle English, as reading was taught from prayer books), from Medieval Latin primarium, from Latin primus "first" (see prime (adj.)), on the notion of "a first book." The word also might be all or in part from prime (n.) in the time sense on the same notion as a book of hours. Meaning "small introductory book on any topic" is from 1807.

primer (n.2)

"explosive cap," 1819, agent noun from prime (v.).

primer (n.3)

"first layer of dye or paint," 1680s, agent noun from prime (v.).

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Definitions of primer from WordNet

primer (n.)
an introductory textbook;
primer (n.)
any igniter that is used to initiate the burning of a propellant;
Synonyms: fuse / fuze / fusee / fuzee / priming
primer (n.)
the first or preliminary coat of paint or size applied to a surface;
Synonyms: flat coat / ground / priming / primer coat / priming coat / undercoat
From wordnet.princeton.edu