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I often see text like "... has been a premier service provider for many years" in advertisements. Sometimes I'll see "Your premier SUCH AND SUCH" These strike me as nonsense phrases unless they were the first, or one of a few early, service providers.

Am I correct in my understanding of this phrase?

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closed as general reference by Mitch, Mahnax, Matt E. Эллен, Hugo, FumbleFingers May 4 '12 at 22:15

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Your dictionary probably mentions other meanings for 'premier'. – Mitch May 4 '12 at 20:26

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You are confusing the word 'premier' with the word 'premiere'. I should emphasize that 'premier' refers to a status(a noun) like prime minister or top rank/importance(an adjective). The word 'premiere' used as a noun or a verb refers to a performance(usually the first).

So, usage of the word premier in those advertisements is correct and sensible.

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Not really. One meaning of the adjectival premier is indeed "first in time/occurrence", but another is "first in importance/rank". What these texts are saying, then, is that a service provider has been "first in importance" (or at least amongst the most important) for years, within its industry and in comparison to its competitors.

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Indeed. The British Prime Minister is often referred to as "Premier" because it's a shorter word to use in newspaper headlines. David Cameron is certainly not the first. – Andrew Leach May 4 '12 at 20:18
@Andrew Really? I would think that's just ... wrong. That's not his title, and, to the best of my knowledge, Britain has no such title. France and Russia have premiers; Britain doesn't. I would think that would be like calling the U.S. President "the king" because it's shorter or you otherwise prefer it. – Jay May 4 '12 at 20:34

My dictionary gives premier as "first in importance, order, or position; leading…". So premier, used in that manner, is just fine.

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