• Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest.
  • Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest.


  • Before anything else; firstly.
  • For the first time;


  • The person or thing in the first position.
  • The first gear of an engine.
  • Something that has never happened before; a new occurrence.
  • first base
  • A first-class honours degree.
  • A first-edition copy of some publication.
  • A fraction of an integer ending in one.
  • Time; time granted; respite.


  • From Middle English first, furst, ferst, fyrst, from Old English fyrest, from Proto-Germanic *furistaz ("foremost, first"), superlative of Proto-Germanic *fur, *fura, *furi, from Proto-Indo-European *per-, *pero-, equivalent to fore + -est. Cognate with North Frisian foarste ("first"), Dutch voorste ("foremost, first"), German Fürst ("chief, prince"), Swedish först ("first"), Norwegian Nynorsk fyrst ("first"), Icelandic fyrstur ("first").
  • From Middle English first, furst, fyrst, from Old English fyrst, fierst, first, from Proto-Germanic *frestaz, *fristiz, *frestą, from Proto-Indo-European *pres-, *per-. Cognate with North Frisian ferst, frest, German Frist ("period, deadline, term"), Swedish frist ("deadline, respite, reprieve, time-limit"), Icelandic frestur ("period"). See also frist.

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