in the first place; first.

Origin of firstly

First recorded in 1525–35; first + -ly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for firstly

Contemporary Examples of firstly

Historical Examples of firstly

  • Firstly, I ask what shall we do if reason prove recalcitrant?

  • There is firstly that obtrusive militarism from which we cannot for a moment escape.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Firstly, to observe that the Inquest was not held in that place, but at some distance off.

  • Firstly there is the witness of that ecstasy of mood of which we have spoken.

    The Lyric

    John Drinkwater

  • Firstly, because he cares for physical adventure, just as you do.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

British Dictionary definitions for firstly



coming before other points, questions, etc
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 firstly

1530s, but never a common word (simple first usually serving its place), from first + -ly (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper