first

adjective
\ ˈfərst How to pronounce first (audio) \

Definition of first

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

first

adverb

Definition of first (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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

first

noun

Definition of first (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for first

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of first in a Sentence

Adjective We sat in the first row. She succeeded on her first attempt. I still remember the first time I saw her. Adverb I have to pay him first. These problems are not as simple as they first appear. I loved her when I first saw her. This word was first recorded in the 19th century. We'll get started soon, but first we have to make sure everyone is here. Noun Her solo flight across the Atlantic was a remarkable first. They were responsible for several engineering firsts. I couldn't get the car out of first. take a first in English
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Chapman was the first Black woman to win the Miss Alabama title. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, 4 June 2021 Kentucky coach John Calipari, 62, just experienced his first losing season as a head coach since his first year at Massachusetts in 1989. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 2 June 2021 Stimpson, the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with an advanced STEM degree, is a chemist, award-winning educator, community volunteer — and what a scientist looks like. Helen Bond, Dallas News, 1 June 2021 Her action echoes the groundbreaking achievement by Althea Gibson at the same tournament 65 years ago, when Gibson became the first Black woman to win a major national tennis championship. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2021 McClellan and Carroll Foy, a 39-year-old former legislator, are trying to break another barrier by becoming the first Black woman to win a governor’s race in any state. Bill Barrow, chicagotribune.com, 31 May 2021 Through the end of May of their first year in office, Mr. Clinton had 151 confirmations, Mr. Obama had secured 145 and Mr. Bush had 126, according to Center for Presidential Transition data. Ken Thomas, WSJ, 30 May 2021 Since then, said Carter — the first Black woman elected to the Oregon Legislature — little has changed to restore trust between Black Portlanders and police officers. oregonlive, 28 May 2021 Scott, who was the first Black woman elected to the Kentucky General Assembly in two decades, was seen as one of the leaders of the protest movement in Louisville last year calling for justice in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Cann first started coaching girls basketball when his younger sister, Makenzie, was in middle school. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, 4 June 2021 Our forever President Barack Obama and forever First Lady Michelle Obama are heading back home to Chi-town and bringing back all the feels of where their love first started. Essence, 2 June 2021 The Boston company first started making pickles from a family recipe and peddling the dills from a cart at the Park Street T stop. BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2021 Rogers and Cashman first started six years ago, after meeting at a mutual friend's birthday party at Acme Feed & Seed in downtown Nashville. Sarah Michaud, PEOPLE.com, 1 June 2021 When Benedetto first started talking to brands and retailers about sustainability years ago, it was seen as nice to have. Judith Magyar, Forbes, 24 May 2021 When the investigation first started, Benzema denied the allegations. Matias Grez, CNN, 19 May 2021 In the nineteen-seventies, when Freudenberger first started looking for burnout across occupations, real wages stagnated and union membership declined. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021 When the coronavirus vaccines first started rolling out in December, LisaRose Blanchette had doubts. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In fact, earlier this year, the Air Force revealed its secret new fighter jet will have an R2-D2-style sidekick, similar to the AI that operated a U-2 spy plane in an historic first. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 29 Apr. 2021 Outbreaks have ravaged long-term care facilities in Europe and North America, adding to the sense of urgency in protecting the elderly first. Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2021 The New York approach is consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and what other jurisdictions are doing to get vaccines to health care workers and the elderly first. Tyler Olson, Fox News, 5 Jan. 2021 The Athletic first reported that Minnesota is expected to sign Trapp after free agency starts Dec. 16. Khobi Price, sun-sentinel.com, 9 Dec. 2020 Bids came from in-person and online, where the auction was broadcast for some 200 buyers (a fair first). Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 8 Aug. 2020 Second baseman Cavan Biggio grabbed it and tried to dive glove-first at the bag, but was edged out by runner Andrew Stevenson. Howard Fendrich, Star Tribune, 29 July 2020 The Athletic first reported that owners rejected the union proposal. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 3 June 2020 This comes at a time of many firsts throughout the tropics. Taylor Ward, CNN, 15 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of first

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for first

Adjective, Adverb, and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for first

Time Traveler

The first known use of first was before the 12th century

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Statistics for first

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“First.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/first. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for first

first

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of first

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of first (Entry 2 of 3)

: before any other in time, order, or importance
: for the first time
: before doing other things

first

noun

English Language Learners Definition of first (Entry 3 of 3)

: an occurrence, achievement, etc., that happens or exists before any other of that kind
: the position of the winner in a competition or contest
: the lowest forward gear or speed of a car, truck, etc.

first

adjective
\ ˈfərst How to pronounce first (audio) \

Kids Definition of first

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

first

adverb

Kids Definition of first (Entry 2 of 3)

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

first

noun

Kids Definition of first (Entry 3 of 3)

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on first

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for first

Nglish: Translation of first for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of first for Arabic Speakers

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