'Premier' vs 'Premiere': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on July 17, 2023

‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’: What’s the Difference? English has a funny way of letting tiny changes make big impacts, and in this article, you’ll learn that adding an “e” can mean all the difference. Read carefully to learn when is the proper time to use each of these new words. 

In a hurry? Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come: 

  • ‘Premier’ is an adjective that means leading, first, or best. 
  • ‘Premiere’ is a noun that means the first opening of a show. 

What’s the Difference Between ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’?

Obviously, one of these words has an “e” at the end, and the other one doesn’t — but why is that the case, and how does it change the word? At first glance, this may seem like a case of British English spelling versus American English spelling, but in fact, they are two different American words. 

Both words come from similar origins, the Latin “principal” that then evolved to the Old French “premiere” which, as you may have guessed, both mean ‘first.’ You can use this as a clue to what they mean, but you’ll need more to tell them apart. 

One trick, for example, is that the two words belong to different parts of speech. 

  • ‘Premier’ is an adjective — it describes the placement (a quality) of something. 
  • ‘Premiere’ is a noun because it is a thing or occasionally a place. 

Finally, a rather silly yet effective way to distinguish between the two is to remember that ‘Premiere’ with an “e” at the end sounds more bougie and theatrical. This may help you connect it to its meaning being related to the theater. Cheesy, yes, but helpful.

Yet, the real best way to tell these two apart is to learn more about what they actually mean and how they work. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at our two new words. 

Definition of ‘Premier’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Premier’ is an adjective that means: 

  • First in importance, order, or position; leading
    • “Germany’s premier rock band”
  • Of earliest creation
    • “the premier issue of the quarterly journal”

As a noun, ‘Premier’ can also mean: 

  • A prime minister or other head of government
  • (in Australia and Canada) the chief minister of the government of a state or province 

Remember, think “primary” as in things that come first or are in the lead

Synonyms of ‘Premier’ 

  • Leading
  • Champion
  • Chief
  • First
  • Initial
  • Inaugural
  • Prime
  • Head
  • Principal

Antonyms of ‘Premier’

  • Auxiliary
  • Extra
  • Final
  • Inferior
  • Minor
  • Inessential
  • Least
  • Secondary
  • Unimportant

Phrases with ‘Premier’

  • Premier League
  • Premier standing
  • Premier band
  • The state’s premier
  • Premier issue
  • Premier medicine

Definition of ‘Premiere’: What Does it Mean?

So what happens when we add an “e” to the end of the above word? According to Oxford Languages, ‘Premiere’ is a noun that means: 

  • The first performance of a musical or theatrical work or the first showing of a movie
    • “the world premiere of his new play”

As a verb, ‘Premiere’ can also mean: 

  • To give the first performance of 
    • “his first stage play was premiered at the Birmingham Repertory Theater.”
  • (of a musical or theatrical work or a film) have its first performance
    • “the show premiered in New York this week.”

If you get mixed up, remember the theatrical spelling that corresponds with its theatrical definition. 

Synonyms of ‘Premiere’

  • Debut
  • Opening
  • Beginning
  • First showing
  • First performance

Antonyms of ‘Premiere’

  • Closing
  • Conclusion
  • Ending
  • Finish

Phrases with ‘Premiere’

  • World premiere
  • Premiere on Broadway 
  • Premiere in theaters
  • It premiered 

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’

Despite the difference in spelling between these two words, they are actually pronounced the same, which can add to the confusion when learning them. Fortunately, though, it means that you’ll learn to pronounce two words for the price of one, so you’ll be able to say them properly in a conversation or presentation regardless of which form you’re using. Learn how to pronounce them both below. 

Use this phonetic spelling of both ‘Premier’ and ‘Premiere’ as a guide: 

  • ‘Preh-mee-uhr’ (with the last “e” functioning more as a segue to the “r”)

Do note: In other countries, like the United Kingdom and Australia, their accent may cause the final “r” to appear silent, but that doesn’t change the spelling. 

How Do You Use ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’ in a Sentence?

Given the pronunciations are so similar, telling ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’ apart can be tricky when you don’t have the words in front of you, and you’re just hearing them aloud. That is where context clues come to the rescue, especially with words like these that are similar in origin and meaning. 

Learning using examples can sometimes be the most helpful in determining when is best and proper to use new vocabulary words, and we want to equip you with all the possible tools to learn.

Here are some example sentences for ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’ to help you nail down context. 

‘Premier’ Example Sentences

  • The Premier League is the highest-ranking level in the English football system and is home to the most popular teams. 
  • He ordered the restaurant’s premier cut of steak to celebrate his new promotion. 
  • The premier issue of the school newspaper sparked a lot of controversy on campus among students and faculty. 
  • Italy’s premier rock band Måneskin has been blowing up and gaining lots of traction on social media. 

‘Premiere’ Example Sentences

  • Everyone is scandalized by the same-day premieres of the “Barbie” movie and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.”
  • When the show first premiered on Broadway, nobody thought it would be very popular.
  • She premiered her one-woman show at the school’s annual drama club festival. 
  • A dozen celebrities walked the red carpet while attending the newest Hollywood blockbuster premiere

Final Advice on ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere’

As you’ve read here, and in other confusing word articles, one letter can mean all the difference, even in similar words like ‘Premier’ vs ‘Premiere.’ Learning their definitions is only half the battle, but as long as you remember different possible contexts you’ll be able to use these new words like a pro. 

Need a review? Here’s a quick recap of what was covered:

  • ‘Premier’ is an adjective meaning first or of greatest importance, stemming from the Latin root “principal,”
  • While ‘Premiere’ is the bougie and theatrical noun that refers to the opening night or debuting of a musical or theatrical performance. 

Keep a sharp eye out for small spelling distinctions and open your ears to all the possible scenarios where words might appear. Keep learning, and you’re sure to become an English language master in no time.

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Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

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