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See more synonyms for firstly on Thesaurus.com
  1. in the first place; first.
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Origin of firstly

First recorded in 1525–35; first + -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for firstly

essentially, mostly, inherently, primarily, radically, firstly, intrinsically, foremost, immediately, primo, basically, fundamentally, primitively

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


  1. coming before other points, questions, etc
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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper