Definitions

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

  • adj. First in time or place.
  • adj. Ahead of all others, especially in position or rank; paramount. See Synonyms at chief.
  • adv. In the front or first position.
  • adv. So as to be most important.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. first, either in time or in space
  • adj. of a higher rank or position; paramount
  • adj. closest to the bow
  • adv. in front
  • adv. prominently forward

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. First in time or place; most advanced; chief in rank or dignity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • First in place, time, quality, station, honor, or dignity.

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

  • adv. before anything else
  • adv. prominently forward
  • adj. situated closest to the bow
  • adj. preceding all others in spatial position
  • adj. ranking above all others

Etymologies

Alteration of Middle English formest, first, from Old English; see per1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English formest, fyrmest ("earliest, first, most prominent"), from the Proto-Germanic superlative *formo- (related to Old English fruma ("beginning")), with the additional superlative suffix -est. Compare Old Saxon formo ("first"), Old High German fruma ("advantage"), cf. Old Frisian formest, Gothic frumists; compare also Latin prīmus as an Indo-European cognate. Corresponds to fore + -most. See also first. (Wiktionary)

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