first down

  1. the first of four consecutive plays during which an offensive team must advance the ball at least ten yards to retain possession of it.

  2. a gain of ten or more yards by an offensive team that entitles it to continued possession for a new series of downs.

Words Nearby first down Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use first down in a sentence

  • We snatched him up, lugged him aft, and pitched him head-first down the cabin companion.

    Youth | Joseph Conrad
  • Bruno replied, gliding head-first down the stem of the fox-glove, for the Story was evidently close to its end.

    Sylvie and Bruno | Lewis Carroll
  • He reversed the revolver in his hand and swiftly crashed it butt-first down upon the American's forehead.

    The Wolf Cub | Patrick Casey
  • Yale's-ball-in-mid-field-Hornung-takes-ball-around-left-end-making-it- first-down-Tinfoil-drops-back-for-a-try-at-a-field-goal.

    Of All Things | Robert C. Benchley