Nearby words

  1. firn,
  2. firn line,
  3. firnification,
  4. firozabad,
  5. firry,
  6. first aid,
  7. first amendment,
  8. first and foremost,
  9. first and last,
  10. first axiom of countability


Origin of first

before 1000; Middle English; Old English fyr(e)st (see fore1, -est1); cognate with German Fürst prince

Related formsfirst·ness, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for first

British Dictionary definitions for first


adjective (usually prenominal)

  1. coming before all others; earliest, best, or foremost
  2. (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
  1. denoting the highest part assigned to one of the voice parts in a chorus or one of the sections of an orchestrafirst soprano; the first violins
  2. denoting the principal player in a specific orchestral sectionhe plays first horn
first thing as the first action of the dayI'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 thinghe doesn't know the first thing about me


the beginning; outsetI 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 classFull term: first-class honours degree
something which has not occurred beforea first for the company
the lowest forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle; low gear
  1. the highest part in a particular section of a chorus or orchestra
  2. the instrument or voice taking such a part
  3. 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, etcdo 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 timeI've loved you since I first saw you
(sentence modifier) in the first place or beginning of a series of actionsfirst I want to talk about criminality
See also firsts

Word Origin for first

Old English fyrest; related to Old Saxon furist, Old Norse fyrstr, German Fürst prince, one who is first in rank

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

Word Origin and History for first


adj., adv.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for first




Coming before all others in order or location.
Occurring or acting before all others in time; earliest.
Being the innermost digit, especially on a foot.
Related formsfirst n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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

also see:

  • 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.