first

adjective
\ˈfərst \

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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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

However, according to the Herald this isn’t Billings first time beating the odds. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Maine fisherman catches rare 'ghost lobster'," 30 Aug. 2018 In the men’s open division alone, there are four references to the sitting U.S. President, two mentions of Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer and one each for Stormy Daniels and Kevin Spacey. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cover your ears: Over-the-Line evolves, but the raunchy team names remain," 14 July 2018 By Brisbee’s accounting, the last time that a position player pitched in a true blowout was when Hall-of-Fame first baseman George Sisler tried it for a laugh during a 16-7 victory on the last day of the 1920 season. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "The Rays and Marlins Played An Incredibly Strange Game on Tuesday Night," 4 July 2018 Northeastern senior infielder Max Burt (St. John’s Prep) went to the New York Yankees in the 28th round (847th pick) and UMass Lowell first baseman Russ Olive (Cushing Academy) of Chelmsford was the 870th selection (29th round) by the Rays. Karl Capen, BostonGlobe.com, "Central Catholic’s Steve Hajjar drafted by Brewers," 6 June 2018 Northwestern State first baseman Peyton Davis drove a solo home run over the left field wall, the Demons' third of the game, to take a 5-4 lead before LSU's late rally. Brody Miller, NOLA.com, "LSU keeps season alive with 9th-inning rally against Northwestern State," 3 June 2018 In 1985, after Milwaukee drafted B.J. Surhoff, the Giants took Mississippi State first baseman Will Clark. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "At 69, This Coach Lives on the Front Line of Baseball’s Revolution," 1 June 2018 Cimusz also made a brilliant play in the sixth inning when the Atascocita first baseman Lesly Miranda nearly made an error on a roller. Rob Tate, Houston Chronicle, "Atascocita softball advances to state title game," 1 June 2018 Meyers then hit a ground ball down the first base line, that appeared to be foul when grabbed by the Eagles first baseman Morgan. Randy Mcroberts, The Aegis, "CMW gets no-hit at Bo Manor in softball matchup of state champions," 10 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Getty ImagesWPA Pool Just in case there were any lingering doubt, Prince Harry puts Meghan Markle first, ahead of everything—including long-standing royal traditions. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Royal Family Is Reportedly Stunned That Prince Harry Skipped This Huge Balmoral Tradition for Meghan Markle," 1 Sep. 2018 Virgo is an earth sign associated with logic, reason, and responsibility, which may at first seem quite dissimilar to Leo’s dynamic bravado. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What August's Aries Horoscope Means for You," 30 July 2018 That has been American policy since North Korea first got nuclear weapons back in the early 1990s. Jon Wolfsthal, The New Republic, "Trump Plays Hard to Get," 24 May 2018 The meeting between Stone and a man who identified himself as Henry Greenberg was described in a pair of letters sent Friday to the House Intelligence Committee and first reported by The Washington Post. Time, "President Trump Ally Roger Stone Reveals Undisclosed Meeting With a Russian National," 19 June 2018 Joanna first revealed the book's concept on Instagram last summer. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Just Revealed Everything We've Been Dying to Know About Her New Design Book," 12 June 2018 One of those times was in July 2017, when Trump first announced his plans to reinstate a ban of transgender people from serving in the military. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Brandon Studler Discusses Life as the Only Openly Transgender Person Working on Capitol Hill," 29 June 2018 Known for its stout, a near-ubiquitous presence on tap at bars around the world, Guinness first announced plans for the brewery in early 2017. Wesley Case, baltimoresun.com, "Guinness' first U.S. brewery, to open in Baltimore County in August, to spur economic benefits across region," 28 June 2018 The pair had a successful collaboration at first, and Spider-Man first appeared in August 1962's Amazing Fantsy No. CBS News, "Steve Ditko, artist who co-created Spider-Man, dead at 90," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Think about this the winners included a number of firsts: Debra Haaland and Sharice Davids, the first Native American women elected to Congress. Glamour, "Hillary Clinton's Speech at Glamour's Women of the Year Awards Will Convince You to Run for Office," 12 Nov. 2018 America saw the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, the first two Native American women elected to Congress, and the first openly gay man elected as governor, among many more firsts. Michael Pincus, Teen Vogue, "Losing in the Midterm Elections Isn’t the End," 9 Nov. 2018 Here are more historic firsts from the midterms; here’s why this win for women isn’t just a symbolic victory. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Trump’s first post-midterms move: Dump Attorney General Jeff Sessions," 8 Nov. 2018 Women likely also helped elect the wave of women candidates who won on Tuesday, including historic firsts like the first Muslim women in Congress. Anna North, Vox, "The midterm election shows white women are finally starting to abandon Trump," 7 Nov. 2018 That sense of impending loss is also nearly always poignant in a way that firsts rarely are because passing into memory is its own kind of death. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "What we lost when we lost Blockbuster Video," 29 Aug. 2018 But with only $85 million in domestic box office receipts in the Friday-Sunday period, the Disney/Lucasfilm release achieved some less desirable firsts. Steven Zeitchik, chicagotribune.com, "4 ways Disney could get the Star Wars franchise back on track," 29 May 2018 Of course, the crew of Apollo 11 was the first to land on the moon, but Apollo 8's firsts were arguably more impressive. Thom Patterson, CNN, "How space travel can unite a fractured world," 18 May 2018 Many of the women who will be on ballots in November have the potential to achieve historic firsts if elected. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Trump is losing the debate over splitting up immigrant families," 15 June 2018

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

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

Adverb

see first entry 1

Noun

see first entry 1

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Statistics for first

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for first

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

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More Definitions for first

first

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of first

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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 2)

: before any other in time, order, or importance

: for the first time

: before doing other things

first

adjective
\ˈfərst \

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.

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Comments on first

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