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first Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the first or highest in an ordering or series
    number one.
    • He wanted to be the first
  2. noun the first element in a countable series
    number 1; number one.
    • the first of the month
  3. noun the time at which something is supposed to begin
    outset; get-go; showtime; starting time; kickoff; start; offset; beginning; commencement.
    • they got an early start
    • she knew from the get-go that he was the man for her
  4. noun the fielding position of the player on a baseball team who is stationed at first of the bases in the infield (counting counterclockwise from home plate)
    first base.
  5. noun an honours degree of the highest class
    first-class honours degree.
  6. noun the lowest forward gear ratio in the gear box of a motor vehicle; used to start a car moving
    low gear; low; first gear.
  7. adjective preceding all others in time or space or degree
    • the first house on the right
    • the first day of spring
    • his first political race
    • her first baby
    • the first time
    • the first meetings of the new party
    • the first phase of his training
  8. adjective satellite indicating the beginning unit in a series
  9. adjective satellite serving to set in motion
    initiatory; initiative; inaugural; maiden.
    • the magazine's inaugural issue
    • the initiative phase in the negotiations
    • an initiatory step toward a treaty
    • his first (or maiden) speech in Congress
    • the liner's maiden voyage
  10. adjective satellite serving to begin
    • the beginning canto of the poem
    • the first verse
  11. adjective satellite ranking above all others
    foremost; world-class.
    • was first in her class
    • the foremost figure among marine artists
    • the top graduate
  12. adjective highest in pitch or chief among parts or voices or instruments or orchestra sections
    • first soprano
    • the first violin section
    • played first horn
  13. adverb before anything else
    firstly; first off; foremost; first of all.
    • first we must consider the garter snake
  14. adverb the initial time
    for the first time.
    • when Felix first saw a garter snake
  15. adverb before another in time, space, or importance
    • I was here first
    • let's do this job first
  16. adverb prominently forward
    • he put his best foot foremost

First adjective
OE. first, furst, AS. fyrst; akin to Icel. fyrstr, Sw. & Dan. förste, OHG. furist, G. fürst prince; a superlatiye form of E. for, fore. See For, Fore, and cf. Formeer, Foremost.
  1. Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest; as, the first day of a month; the first year of a reign.
  2. Foremost; in front of, or in advance of, all others.
  3. Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest; as, Demosthenes was the first orator of Greece. Syn. -- Primary; primordial; primitive; primeval; pristine; highest; chief; principal; foremost.
First adverb
  1. Before any other person or thing in time, space, rank, etc.; -- much used in composition with adjectives and participles.
    Adam was first formed, then Eve. 1 Tim. ii. 13.
    And all are fools and lovers first or last. Dryden.
First noun
  1. (Mus.) The upper part of a duet, trio, etc., either vocal or instrumental; -- so called because it generally expresses the air, and has a preëminence in the combined effect.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

Writing Improvement Software
Writing Improvement Software