first·​hand | \ ˈfərst-ˈhand \

Definition of firsthand

: obtained by, coming from, or being direct personal observation or experience a firsthand account of the war … had a firsthand view of the turmoil that wracked the region.— William W. Finan, Jr.

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Other Words from firsthand

firsthand adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for firsthand


direct, immediate, primary, unmediated


indirect, secondhand

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Examples of firsthand in a Sentence

He gave a firsthand account of the battle. She draws on firsthand experiences for her novel.

Recent Examples on the Web

Principal Angelia Ross knows firsthand how global events can intersect with the everyday lives of Texas teachers. Diane Smith, star-telegram, "'After the headlines have faded,' they will be the first to see immigrant children's trauma," 29 June 2018 Melissa Griffith of Dallas knows firsthand the pain of waiting to find out what was wrong with her daughter. Sarah Elizabeth Richards,, "Rapid sequencing of babies' genes may save lives," 11 June 2018 Pierce knows firsthand the difficulties of beating a good Texas team on its own field. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "UT to battle Tennessee Tech for CWS berth," 8 June 2018 But Miller grew up playing multiple instruments and knew firsthand how musical training can improve grades, focus and discipline. Pam Kragen,, "David's Harp strikes a note with at-risk teens," 30 May 2018 Those kinds of revelations happen for the audience too, thanks to the fact that Mazzei’s firsthand experience in camming informed much of the script. Carl Kelsch, Marie Claire, "'Cam' Is the Sex-Positive Horror Movie You Have to See," 24 Dec. 2018 Verge Science visited Lorne at his lab in Rochester, New York, and got a firsthand look at some of the new science sign language in circulation. William Poor, The Verge, "How deaf researchers are reinventing science communication," 11 Dec. 2018 Delegates arriving in Port Moresby will get a firsthand look at China’s economic clout. Rachel Pannett, WSJ, "Trump Skips Asia Summits, Fueling Concerns on U.S. Commitment to Region," 14 Nov. 2018 Part of the paranormal town’s annual UFO festival, the Alien Chase gives you a firsthand look at some of the the country’s most alien-friendly terrain. Carly Graf, Outside Online, "10 Fun Runs to Sign Up for This Summer," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'firsthand.' 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 firsthand

1699, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for firsthand

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for firsthand

The first known use of firsthand was in 1699

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More Definitions for firsthand



English Language Learners Definition of firsthand

: coming directly from actually experiencing or seeing something

first·​hand | \ ˈfərst-ˈhand \

Kids Definition of firsthand

: coming right from the original source firsthand information I got the story firsthand.

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Comments on firsthand

What made you want to look up firsthand? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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