from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Foremost in quality, rank, or importance.
  • adv. Informal Very well; excellently.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ship of the line in the British navy that had over 100 guns on three gun decks
  • adj. Describing a ship of the line in the British navy that had over 100 guns on three gundecks
  • adj. Exceptionally good

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of the highest excellence; preëminent in quality, size, or estimation.
  • adj. of the highest quality.
  • n. A war vessel of the highest grade or the most powerful class.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of the first class or rate; especially, of the highest excellence; preëminent in quality or estimation.
  • n. Something rated among the first or in the first class; specifically, a war-ship of the first or most powerful rating or class.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. quite well
  • adj. of the highest quality


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • No country has achieved first-rate health care, or strong transportation infrastructure, or pioneering scientific research without the help of government.

    The Good Fight

  • Today, older Americans do have independent lives and first-rate medical care.

    The Good Fight

  • He is a first-rate composer, whether writing for the movie screen or his own quintet or, better yet, some combination of both.

    From Melodies to Medleys

  • Aficionados may guess the killer early on, but the first-rate characters and chilling story are entrancing from start to finish.

    The Crossing Places: Summary and book reviews of The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths.

  • All of this may sound dry, but Ms. Hvistendahl is a first-rate reporter and has filled "Unnatural Selection" with gripping details.

    The War Against Girls

  • A first-rate reporter in his day, Waldman covers an enormous amount of ground, despite the fact the final product is pared down from the scope of the intended report.

    Eric Alterman: The FCC's New 'Local' Focus: Too Little, Too Late?

  • At the other end of the spectrum, some first-rate sites (www. and www. are only updated every few months or left to lapse while their authors undertake other tasks.

    Have Food Blogs Come of Age?

  • Although Venice nurtured many first-rate artists, Canaletto is Venice.

    Waning Genius in Venice

  • Every other aspect of this production is first-rate, from the fabulous three-piece onstage band to Donyale Werle 's set, which turns the living room of the Hermitage, Jackson' s Tennessee mansion, into a duplicate of a downtown club.

    Emo-cracy Comes to Broadway

  • His twangy voice is strong, his three solo compositions first-rate, as are the songs he wrote with Mr. John and Mr. John's longtime lyricist, Bernie Taupin.

    Elton John's American Idol

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.