An example of first is a first child, a child born before their siblings.
- preceding all others in a series; before any other; 1st
- happening or acting before all others; earliest
- ranking before all others; foremost in rank, quality, importance, etc.; principal
- designating the slowest forward gear ratio of a motor vehicle transmission; low (adjective)
- Music playing or singing the leading part or the part highest in pitch
Origin of firstMiddle English from Old English fyrst, literally , foremost, superlative of fore, before (see fore), akin to Old High German furist, German fürst, prince, literally , foremost from Indo-European base an unverified form per-, beyond from source Classical Latin prae, before, Classical Greek para, beside, beyond
- before any other person or thing; at the beginning
- before doing anything else
- as the first point; to begin with
- for the first time
- sooner; preferably
- with (a specified part) in the front or lead: to plunge into a pool feet first
- that one before the second
- any person, thing, class, place, etc. that is first
- the first day of a month
- the beginning; start
- a first happening or thing of its kind
- [pl.] the best quality of merchandise
- the winning place in a race or competition
- the first (adjective) gear of a motor vehicle transmission; low (noun)
- Baseball first base
- Music the highest or leading voice or instrument in an ensemble
in the first place
- The ordinal number matching the number one in a series.
- The one coming, occurring, or ranking before or above all others.
- The beginning; the outset: from the first; at first.
- Music The voice or instrument highest in pitch or carrying the principal part.
- The transmission gear or corresponding gear ratio used to produce the range of lowest drive speeds in a motor vehicle.
- The winning position in a contest: finished the season in first.
- Baseball a. First base.b. A first baseman.
- Corresponding in order to the number one.
- Coming before all others in order or location: the first house on your left.
- Occurring or acting before all others in time; earliest: the first day of spring.
- Ranking above all others, as in importance or quality; foremost: was first in the class.
- Music Being highest in pitch or carrying the principal part: first trumpet.
- Of, relating to, or being the transmission gear or corresponding gear ratio used to produce the range of lowest drive speeds in a motor vehicle.
- Of, related to, or being a member of the US president's household: first daughter Sasha Obama.
- Before or above all others in time, order, rank, or importance: arrived first; forgot to light the oven first.
- For the first time.
- Rather; preferably: would die first.
- In the first place; to begin with; firstly.
Origin of firstMiddle English from Old English fyrst ; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
- Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest.
- The first day of September 2013 was a Sunday. I was the first runner to reach the finish line, and won the race.
- Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest.
- Demosthenes was the first orator of Greece.
- Before anything else; firstly.
- Clean the sink first, before you even think of starting to cook.
(countable and uncountable, plural firsts)
- (uncountable) The person or thing in the first position.
- He was the first to complete the course.
- (uncountable) The first gear of an engine.
- (countable) Something that has never happened before; a new occurrence.
- This is a first. For once he has nothing to say.
- (countable, baseball) first base
- There was a close play at first.
- (countable, UK, colloquial) A first-class honours degree.
- (countable, colloquial) A first-edition copy of some publication.
- A fraction of an integer ending in one.
- one forty-first of the estate
From Middle English first, furst, ferst, fyrst, from Old English fyrst, fyrest (“first, foremost, principal, chief, original”), from Proto-Germanic *furistaz (“foremost, first”), superlative of Proto-Germanic *fur, *fura, *furi (“before”), from Proto-Indo-European *per-, *pero- (“forward, beyond, around”), equivalent to fore + -est. Cognate with North Frisian foarste (“first”), Dutch voorste (“foremost, first”), German Fürst (“chief, prince”, literally “first (born)”), Swedish första (“first”), Icelandic fyrstur (“first”).
From Middle English first, furst, fyrst, from Old English fyrst, fierst, first (“period, space of time, time, respite, truce”), from Proto-Germanic *fristaz, *fristą (“date, appointed time”), from Proto-Indo-European *pres-, *per- (“forward, forth, over, beyond”). Cognate with North Frisian ferst, frest (“period, time”), German Frist (“period, deadline, term”), Swedish frist (“deadline, respite, reprieve, time-limit”), Icelandic frestur (“period”). See also frist.
- Of or pertaining to the executive of a particular nation or state.