prime directive

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prime directive (plural prime directives)

  1. An order or mission which presents the overriding control over a course of action.
    • 1902: University of Michigan Law School, Michigan Law Review p. 1949:
      We are, after all, discussing the prime directive of academic life and a vitally important rule of civilized life in general: Seek and disseminate the truth.
    • 1946: University of Iowa/University of Chicago, The Journal of General Education, p. 160:
      Such probes would not invalidate the prime directive that a work of art must stand upon its intrinisic artistic merits
    • 1955: René Albrecht-Carrié, Europe After 1815, p. 32:
      The prime directive of Austrian policy was the preservation of this state of affairs.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:prime directive.