being before all others with respect to time, order, rank, importance, etc., used as the ordinal number of one: the first edition; the first vice president.
Music. highest or chief among several voices or instruments of the same class: first alto; first horn.
Automotive. low1 (def. 31).
(often initial capital letter) being a member of the household or an intimate acquaintance of the president of the United States or of the governor of a state: the First Lady; Checkers, the first dog.
before all others or anything else in time, order, rank, etc.
before some other thing, event, etc.: If you're going, phone first.
the person or thing that is first in time, order, rank, etc.
the first part; first member of a series.
the voice or instrument that takes the highest or chief part in its class, especially in an orchestra or chorus.
a leader of a part or group of performers.
Automotive. low gear; first gear: She shifted into first and drove off.
the winning position or rank in a race or other competition.
Baseball. first base (def. 1).
a product or goods of the first or highest quality.
goods produced according to specifications, without visible flaws.
first-class honors.: See also class (def. 18).
a person who has won such honors.
Idioms about first
first and last, everything considered; above all else; altogether: First and last, it is important to know oneself.
first off, Informal. at the outset; in the beginning: He wanted to know first off why he hadn't been notified.
first thing, before anything else: I'll call you first thing when I arrive.
- firstness, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use first in a sentence
Fluoride first entered an American water supply through a rather inelegant technocratic scheme.
In the first episode, an officer is shown video of himself shooting and killing a man.'Babylon' Review: The Dumb Lives of Trigger-Happy Cops | Melissa Leon | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
But since those rosy scenarios were first floated, the California political scene has grown more crowded.The Golden State Preps for the ‘Red Wedding’ of Senate Races | David Freedlander | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Eric Garcetti succeeded Villaraigosa and has received high marks in his first year and a half on the job.The Golden State Preps for the ‘Red Wedding’ of Senate Races | David Freedlander | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
He sees himself as the first Muslim president of all Europe.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President | Pierre Assouline | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
This is the first and principal point at which we can stanch the wastage of teaching energy that now goes on.The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
He was converted and baptized, and was the first Hebrew instructor at Harvard college.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology | Joel Munsell
And I have not had the first morsel of food prepared from this grain offered me since I reached the shores of Europe.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
Now first we shall want our pupil to understand, speak, read and write the mother tongue well.The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
In treble, second and fourth, the first change is a dodge behind; and the second time the treble leads, there's a double Bob.Tintinnalogia, or, the Art of Ringing | Richard Duckworth and Fabian Stedman
British Dictionary definitions for first
coming before all others; earliest, best, or foremost
(as noun): I was the first to arrive
preceding all others in numbering or counting order; the ordinal number of one . Often written: 1st
rated, graded, or ranked above all other levels
denoting the lowest forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
denoting the highest part assigned to one of the voice parts in a chorus or one of the sections of an orchestra: first soprano; the first violins
denoting the principal player in a specific orchestral section: he plays first horn
first thing as the first action of the day: I'll see you first thing tomorrow
first things first things must be done in order of priority
the first thing (in negative constructions) even one thing: he doesn't know the first thing about me
the beginning; outset: I knew you were a rogue from the first; I couldn't see at first because of the mist
education, mainly British an honours degree of the highest class: Full term: first-class honours degree
something which has not occurred before: a first for the company
the lowest forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle; low gear
the highest part in a particular section of a chorus or orchestra
the instrument or voice taking such a part
the chief or leading player in a section of an orchestra; principal
music a rare word for prime (def. 11)
before anything else in order, time, preference, importance, etc: do this first; first, remove the head and tail of the fish
first and last on the whole; overall
from first to last throughout
for the first time: I've loved you since I first saw you
(sentence modifier) in the first place or beginning of a series of actions: first I want to talk about criminality
- See also firsts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with first
In addition to the idioms beginning with first
- first and foremost
- first and last
- first blush
- first come, first served
- first cousin
- first hand
- first of all
- first off
- first thing
- first things first
- at first
- at first blush
- at first hand
- cast the first stone
- get to first base
- if at first you don't succeed
- in the first place
- in the (first) flush of
- love at first sight
- not know beans (the first thing)
- of the first water
- on a first-name basis
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.