first·​hand | \ ˈfərst-ˈhand How to pronounce firsthand (audio) \

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

Two sources with firsthand knowledge of the process tells the Free Press that the Pistons have obtained Milwaukee Bucks small forward Tony Snell and the last pick of the first round of tomorrow night’s NBA draft (30th overall). Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons trade Jon Leuer to Milwaukee for Tony Snell, 30th draft pick," 19 June 2019 And beyond our small test, Wireless Direct is still getting 50 percent of 911 calls to nearby operators, who are likely to have firsthand knowledge of the local geography, such as the layout of a hospital campus. Peter Demarco,, "A test of 911 calls reveals a reason for missed connections," 8 June 2019 Visitors can hear audio of oral history recounting firsthand accounts of life under Jim Crow or women of Montgomery boycotting bus segregation. National Geographic, "13 destinations for African-American history and culture," 23 May 2019 To answer these cliffhangers, got on the phone with some of the show's writers and cast members, who gave us the firsthand scoop on what's going to happen in the Pearsons' lives. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Season 4 Sounds Like It's Going to Be a REALLY Hard One for Fans," 19 Mar. 2019 Melissa Griffith of Dallas knows firsthand the pain of waiting to find out what was wrong with her daughter. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Washington Post, "Rapid genome sequencing could revolutionize health care for acutely ill babies," 10 June 2018 The collection starts with the couple's firsthand account of opening Bestia, memories of their training (or lack thereof), and why Italian food captured their hearts and tastebuds. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Be Ambitious This Thanksgiving: 3 Bold Recipes From One of L.A.’s Most Talked About Restaurants," 2 Nov. 2018 In 2012, Carolyn Corbin, who lives in the Channel Islands, got some firsthand experience with fasting’s flexibility. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 Perhaps from a family where honor was in the atmosphere or from the firsthand experience of cruelty which left physical reminders that lasted his whole life. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of George W. Bush's Eulogy for John McCain," 1 Sep. 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

22 Jun 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 How to pronounce firsthand (audio) \

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).


showing courage and determination

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