A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all lemurs, monkeys, apes, and humans. The English singular primate is a back-formation from the Latin name Primates, which itself was the plural of the Latin primas ("one of the first, excellent, noble").
Human primates are recognized as persons and protected in law by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by all governments, though to varying degrees. Non-human primates are not classified as persons, which means their individual interests have no formal recognition or protection. The status of other apes particularly—as our closest genetic cousins—has generated much debate, particularly through the Great Ape Project which argues for their personhood.