Word Choice: Premier vs. Premiere
  • 2-minute read
  • 26th September 2018

Word Choice: Premier vs. Premiere

“Premier” and “premiere” look very similar written down. They also sound similar when spoken. And to top it all off, they both have to do with being “first” in some sense.

Is it any surprise, then, that people get these words mixed up? Probably not. Yet there is a difference between them, so make sure your written work is error free with our helpful guide.

Premier (First in Status)

“Premier” is usually an adjective meaning “first in status” or “best”:

Usain Bolt was the premier sprinter of his generation.

Here, we’re referring to Mr. Bolt’s status as a leading athlete on the track.

With that name, he was either going to be a runner or a mechanic.
With that name, he was either going to be a runner or a mechanic.
(Photo: Grzegorz Jereczek/flickr)

A secondary use is as a noun that refers to the leader of a government:

We will remember him as the UK’s worst ever premier.

Typically, “premier” is used for the prime minister of a country. However, in Australia and Canada, it is also used for heads of regional government bodies.

Premiere (A Debut or First Performance)

“Premiere” is primarily a noun that refers to the first public performance or appearance of something:

We’re having a glitzy premiere with a red carpet for our new play.

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But the same word can also be used as a verb meaning “show for the first time.” For example, we could say:

We’ll be premiering the movie at the Sundance Festival.

There are worse places to premiere something.
There are worse places to premiere something.
(Photo: Travis Wise/flickr)

In both noun and verb cases, “premiere” usually applies to a performance or entertainment of some kind. But you can also “premiere” other things (e.g., when a company reveals a new product for the first time).

Premier or Premiere?

These words are similar in many ways. However, “premiere” is only ever used in relation to the first public appearance of something. In any other situation, the correct term will therefore be “premier.” Remember:

Premier (adjective) = First in status or importance

Premier (noun) = The leader of a government

Premiere (noun) = The first performance or appearance of something

Premiere (verb) = The act of showing something in public for the first time

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