first: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (fûrst), [key]
— adj.
  1. being before all others with respect to time, order, rank, importance, etc., used as the ordinal number of one: the first edition; the first vice president.
  2. highest or chief among several voices or instruments of the same class: first alto; first horn.
  3. low (def. 31).
  4. before anything else; at once; promptly: I'll call you first thing when I arrive.
  1. before all others or anything else in time, order, rank, etc.
  2. before some other thing, event, etc.: If you're going, phone first.
  3. for the first time: She first visited Atlanta in 1980.
  4. in preference to something else; rather; sooner: I'd die first.
  5. in the first place; firstly.
  6. everything considered; above all else; altogether: First and last, it is important to know oneself.
  7. at the outset; immediately: He wanted to know first off why he hadn't been notified.
  1. the person or thing that is first in time, order, rank, etc.
  2. the beginning.
  3. the first part; first member of a series.
    1. the voice or instrument that takes the highest or chief part in its class, esp. in an orchestra or chorus.
    2. a leader of a part or group of performers.
  4. low gear; first gear: She shifted into first and drove off.
  5. the winning position or rank in a race or other competition.
  6. See
  7. Usually,
    1. a product or goods of the first or highest quality.
    2. goods produced according to specifications, without visible flaws. Cf. second1 (def. 23),third(def. 12).
    1. first-class honors. Cf. class (def. 18).
    2. a person who has won such honors.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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