Posted by: Jack Henry | May 5, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Premier and Premiere

Last week, I wrote about the commonly confused words principal and principle. This week, we’ll demystify another confusing word pair: premier and premiere.

The English words premier and premiere come from the same French adjective, which is spelled premier or première.

The adjective premier entered English in the 15th century. The noun premiere didn’t come until much later (in 1889), and the verb premiere later still (in 1927).


Merriam-Webster defines premier as follows:

· premier (adjective): first in position, rank, or importance

When you want to say that something is the best (as in "San Diego’s premier taco shop" or "Alaska’s premier joke-teller"), the correct spelling is premier.


Premiere is short for première représentation, a French phrase meaning first presentation. The French shortened the phrase before it made its way to English; we just removed the accent over the second e.

Merriam-Webster defines premiere as follows:

· premiere (noun): the first performance or exhibition (as of a play)

· premiere (verb): to give a first public performance or showing of

When you want to say that something debuted to the public (like a movie, a play, or a television series), the correct spelling is premiere.

Premiere can be a noun ("I camped overnight for the premiere of The Force Awakens") or a verb ("The first movie to premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was Robin Hood in 1922").

How to Remember the Difference

You have your choice of two mnemonics:

· The first showing of a movie is its premiere. Movie and premiere both end with e.

· A premiere relates to entertainment. Entertainment starts with e.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
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619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 |

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