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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). 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. 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 thing at the earliest time in the day: He said he'd phone back first thing tomorrow.

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? B1 for the first time: When did you first meet each other? The company was still very small when I first joined. 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

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. from the (very) first from the beginning: I've opposed the proposal from the very first.

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.

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.

first noun (VEHICLE)

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