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English definition of “first”

first

ordinal number, determiner uk   /ˈfɜːst/ us    /ˈfɝːst/
A1 (a person or thing) coming before all others in order, time, amount, quality, or importance: This is my first visit to New York. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. I'm always nervous for the first few minutes of an exam. Today is the first (of August).First and firstly in the first place B2 in or at the beginning (of a series of events): The trousers shrank when I washed them, but they weren't really big enough in the first place. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt, but he never should have been there in the first place.First and firstly in the first instance UK as the first attempt or effort: Enquiries about the post should be addressed in the first instance to the personnel manager.First and firstly first thing at the earliest time in the day: He said he'd phone back first thing tomorrow.Early

first

adverb uk   /ˈfɜːst/ us    /ˈfɝːst/
A1 before all others in order, time, amount, quality, or importance: Tom came first in the race. Who finished first? If you get home first, can you put the kettle on?Before, after and alreadyAfter and behind B1 for the first time: When did you first meet each other? The company was still very small when I first joined.First and firstly A2 (also firstly) used at the beginning of a list of things you want to say or write: First, I want to thank my parents. First (of all) (= before anything else), I'd like to ask you a few questions.UK First off (= before anything else), let me introduce myself.First and firstly

first

noun uk   /ˈfɜːst/ us    /ˈfɝːst/

first noun (THING/PERSON)

B1 [S] the first person or thing to do or be something, or the first person or thing mentioned: [+ to infinitive] She was one of the first to arrive. He is the first (= very willing) to admit that much of his success is due to his good looks. Tonight sees the first of three documentaries about cancer.First and firstly from the (very) first from the beginning: I've opposed the proposal from the very first.First and firstly

first noun (NEVER BEFORE)

C2 [S] something that has never happened or been done before: This new surgical technique is a first for (= has never been done before in) Britain.Always and never

first noun (QUALIFICATION)

[C] UK (also first-class degree) the best possible undergraduate university degree you can get in the UK and some other countries: She has a first in English from Newcastle University.Marks and results

first noun (VEHICLE)

[U] (also first gear) (in a vehicle) the gear used when starting to drive forward or when driving up a steep hillThe engine and engine partsEngines and motors
(Definition of first from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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