first among equals

noun phrase

: the leader of a group of people who is officially considered equal in rights and status to the other members of the group
As a director, he encourages collaboration and considers himself only (the) first among equals.

Examples of first among equals in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Under India’s parliamentary system, the Prime Minister is a member of the legislature, first among equals. Daniel Brook, The New Yorker, 7 Sep. 2023 But for Swift, there’s one duet partner who is first among equals: Ed Sheeran. Eli Miller, Vulture, 16 June 2023 Ramsay is first among equals in the exceptional cast, but it’s left to another member of the cast to deliver what is arguably the biggest shock to the audience. Joe Leydon, Variety, 12 May 2023 Picard is still first among equals—the show has his name on it, after all—but once all the old TNG characters are finally back on the board, Stewart and Picard both feel more like players in an ensemble again. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2023 Conservative Anglican leaders said that their church, riven by disagreements over homosexuality, could no longer recognize England’s Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equals and called for an overhaul of how the global denomination is led. Francis X. Rocca,, 21 Apr. 2023 In Orthodox Christianity, national churches have a high degree of autonomy, with the patriarch in Istanbul — which the church still calls Constantinople — considered the first among equals. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2022 Original series star Mandy Patinkin — sort of a first among equals in an ensemble cast — suddenly quit the series after two seasons. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 Almost at once, Morgenthau staked his ground: His office would become known as primus inter pares—first among equals, across the 93 federal judicial districts. Andrew Meier, Time, 14 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'first among equals.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near first among equals

Cite this Entry

“First among equals.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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