Definition of first down
1 : the first of a series of usually four downs in which a football team must net a 10-yard gain to retain possession of the ball
2 : a gain of a total of 10 or more yards within usually four downs giving the team the right to start a new series of downs
Examples of first down in a sentence
They have first down on the 20-yard line.
The pass was completed for a first down.
First Known Use of first down
FIRST DOWN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of first down for English Language Learners
American football : the first of a series of usually four downs in which a team must gain 10 yards to keep the ball; also : the right to start a new series of downs after a gain of 10 or more yards
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