Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “first”


adverb     /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 Grammar:First, firstly or at first?
(Definition of first adverb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of first

Definitions of “first” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


the skill or activity of preparing and cooking food

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More