in the first place

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of in the first place

1 used at the end of a sentence to indicate what was true or what should have been done at the beginning of a situation
  • We should never have gone there in the first place.
  • I didn't care much for the job in the first place.
2 used when listing the most important parts of something or the most important reasons for something
  • I'm not going to tell you because, in the first place, it's none of your business, and in the second place, you would tell everyone else.

Word by Word Definitions

first play
  1. : preceding all others in time, order, or importance: such as

  2. : earliest

  3. : being the lowest forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle

  1. : before another in time, space, or importance

  2. : in the first place

  3. : for the first time

  1. : one that is number one in a series — see Table of Numbers

  2. : something that is first: such as

  3. : the first occurrence or item of a kind

place play
  1. : physical environment : space

  2. : a way for admission or transit

  3. : physical surroundings : atmosphere

  1. : to put in or as if in a particular place or position : set

  2. : to present for consideration

  3. : to put in a particular state


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!