Meaning of “first class” in the English Dictionary

"first class" in British English

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first classadjective

also first-class uk /ˌfɜːst ˈklɑːs/ us /ˌfɝːst ˈklæs/

first class adjective (MOST EXPENSIVE)

relating to the most expensive and highest quality service on a plane or train, or in a hotel:

a first-class ticket
first-class accommodation/travel

relating to the service for sending post that people usually use:

first-class mail/postage
How much is a first-class stamp?

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first classadverb

uk /ˌfɜːst ˈklɑːs/ us /ˌfɝːst ˈklæs/

If you travel first class in a train, aircraft, etc., you use the best and most expensive type of service:

She always travels first class.

UK If you send something first class, you send it by the usual post service:

How much more would it cost to send it first class?

first classnoun [ U ]

uk /ˌfɜːst ˈklɑːs/ us /ˌfɝːst ˈklæs/

the best and most expensive seats on a plane or in a train:

Because of the delay, we were offered seats in first class.

UK the post service that most people use for sending letters, etc.:

First class costs more, but it will arrive tomorrow.

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(Definition of “first class” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"first class" in American English

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first classnoun [ U ]

/ˈfɜrst ˈklæs/

the best group or class, esp. the most expensive seats on a plane or a train:

I upgraded my plane ticket to first class from tourist class.

first-classadjective

/ˈfɜrstˈklæs/

first-class adjective (QUALITY)

of the highest quality or standard:

a first-class education

first-class adjective (MAIL)

of or having to do with the standard way of mailing letters and cards:

The price of a first-class stamp has gone up again.

(Definition of “first class” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"first class" in Business English

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first classadjective

uk us

of excellent quality:

The work that she did on the project was first class.
He really is pre-eminent in the field and has built up a first-class business.

TRANSPORT relating to the highest level of service offered on a plane, train, etc.:

a first-class cabin/fare/seat, etc.

in the UK, relating to the fastest service for sending mail:

It is welcome news that first-class delivery has improved.
The cost of a first-class stamp is going up.

in the US, relating to the service used for sending letters, cards, and small packages:

He predicts first-class volume will decline by 20 percent by the year 2017 as fewer people sit down to write a letter.
Experts expect that the U.S. Postal Service soon will request a price increase for first-class letters.

used to describe the best possible degree you can get from a university in the UK:

A report showed that a first-class degree is worth, on average, 12% more in likely future earnings.

first classadverb

uk us

TRANSPORT using the highest level of service offered:

fly/travel first class I fly business class; I don't fly first class.

using the fastest service for sending mail:

The minimum requirement is that certificates must be sent first class to the shareholder's registered address.

first classnoun [ U ]

uk us

the best seats, service, etc. on a plane, train, etc.:

I didn't see him on the flight because he was in first class.

in the UK, the fastest service for sending mail:

Always use first class for sending these documents.

in the US, the service for sending letters, cards and small packages

(Definition of “first class” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)