at the first sign

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of at the first sign

: as soon as something happens that indicates an action or event has begun to take place
  • The bartender called the police at the first sign of trouble.
  • At the first sign of spring she planted annuals in her flower beds.

Word by Word Definitions

first play
  1. : preceding all others in time, order, or importance: such as

  2. : earliest

  3. : being the lowest forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle

  1. : before another in time, space, or importance

  2. : in the first place

  3. : for the first time

  1. : one that is number one in a series — see Table of Numbers

  2. : something that is first: such as

  3. : the first occurrence or item of a kind

sign play
  1. : a motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known

  2. : signal

  3. : a fundamental linguistic unit that designates an object or relation or has a purely syntactic function

  1. : cross

  2. : to place a sign on or mark by signs

  3. : to represent or indicate by a sign


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