1

first

adjective \ ˈfərst \

Definition of first

:preceding all others in time, order, or importance: such as
a :earliest
  • She won first prize.
  • his first girlfriend
b :being the lowest forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle
  • couldn't get the car out of first gear
c :having the highest or most prominent part among a group of similar voices or instruments
  • first violins

Examples of first in a Sentence

  1. We sat in the first row.

  2. She succeeded on her first attempt.

  3. I still remember the first time I saw her.

Recent Examples of first from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'first.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of first

Middle English, from Old English fyrst; akin to Old High German furist first, Old English faran to go — more at fare

Other Number-Related Terms


2

first

adverb

Definition of first

1 a :before another in time, space, or importance
b :in the first place often used with of all
c :for the first time
2 :in preference to something else :sooner

Examples of first in a Sentence

  1. I have to pay him first.

  2. These problems are not as simple as they first appear.

  3. I loved her when I first saw her.

  4. This word was first recorded in the 19th century.

  5. We'll get started soon, but first we have to make sure everyone is here.

Recent Examples of first from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'first.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of first

see 1first

first Synonyms

Synonyms
instead, rather
Antonyms
involuntarily, unwillingly
Related Words
alternately, alternatively
Near Antonyms
reluctantly; forcibly, willy-nilly

Other Number-Related Terms


3

first

noun

Definition of first

1 :one that is number one in a series — see Table of Numbers
2 :something that is first: such as
a :the first occurrence or item of a kind
b :the first forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle
c :the highest or chief voice or instrument of a group
d :an article of commerce of the finest grade
e :the winning or highest place in a competition, examination, or contest
at first
:at the beginning :initially

Examples of first in a Sentence

  1. Her solo flight across the Atlantic was a remarkable first.

  2. They were responsible for several engineering firsts.

  3. I couldn't get the car out of first.

  4. take a first in English

Recent Examples of first from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'first.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of first

see 1first

Other Number-Related Terms


FIRST Defined for English Language Learners

first

adjective

Definition of first for English Language Learners

  • : coming before all others in time, order, or importance

  • —used to refer to the lowest forward gear or speed of a vehicle

  • : having or playing the main part in a group of instruments


first

adverb

Definition of first for English Language Learners

  • : before any other in time, order, or importance

  • : for the first time

  • : before doing other things


FIRST Defined for Kids

1

first

adjective \ ˈfərst \

Definition of first for Students

:coming before all others in time, order, or importance
  • first prize
  • first base

2

first

adverb

Definition of first for Students

1 :before any other
  • I reached the goal first.
2 :for the first time
  • We first met at a party.

3

first

noun

Definition of first for Students

1 :number one in a series
2 :something or someone that comes before all others Her perfect score was a first for the school.
3 :the winning place in a competition
at first
:in the beginning
  • I hated dance lessons at first.


Seen and Heard

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