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English definition of “first”

first

ordinal number, determiner     /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 Grammar:First, firstly or at first?See more
(Definition of first ordinal numberdeterminer from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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