Consider a finite field $F_p$, then we know that it is cyclic. We call an element primitive if it generates this field. Further, given a field and some polynomial over that field(all the coefficients are in the field), we can form a field extension by any of its roots. This is adjoining on that root and making a field of it.
It is a simple result of Galois Theory that if we take a field and extend by some root of some polynomial and get a finite extension(one who's degree as a vector space over the original field is finite), that we can find a polynomial $m$ over our ground field such that $m$ vanishes at this root and is minimal(smallest degree, i.e. it divides all other polys which vanish at this root).
If we consider a primitive element and its minimal polynomial, that poly is call primitive.
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