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

But the statements by witnesses, contained in prosecutors’ files about the Twelve Apostles that were reviewed by The New York Times, offer firsthand accounts of killings that ravaged the ranch and the surrounding area in the 1990s. New York Times, "In Colombian Death Ranch Case, Some Fear Prosecution Will Be Buried," 8 July 2018 On Tuesday, the Center for Human Rights in Iran published a detailed report on the profound impact of blocking Telegram, based on dozens of firsthand accounts from inside the country. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "The Unexpected Fallout of Iran's Telegram Ban," 19 June 2018 What really emerges from the hodgepodge of books, trade articles and firsthand accounts of the Countach’s construction is a counterintuitive model for leading a team toward genius. Sam Walker, WSJ, "In Chasing Perfection, Ferruccio Lamborghini Took the Fast Lane," 31 May 2018 Mercury 13, a Netflix Original from British documentarians Heather Walsh and David Sington, shares some of those women’s firsthand accounts. Kat Eschner, Outside Online, "One Small Step for a Woman, One Giant Leap for Mankind," 27 Apr. 2018 April 25 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Get an inside glimpse at the rich history and process of animation, as well as firsthand experience using industry standard digital animation techniques and software. Shirley Macfarland,, "SCT takes it "Day by Day" with beloved musical "Godspell": Strong Points," 13 Apr. 2018 And entrepreneurs also get firsthand experiences with an aging population that has to adapt to their ideas., "Meet 'Jimmy' the robot, new friend for senior California couple," 16 May 2018 Mikutel said he's seen firsthand the exodus of family and friends from the state. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, "Veteran, Newcomer Square Off In 45th District Race," 11 July 2018 Puknaitis visited Iovinelli in the hospital, and saw firsthand how serious the accident was. Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, "Naperville paramedic recognized for off-duty rescue of retired Franklin Park fire chief," 20 June 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

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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