from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The ordinal number matching the number one in a series.
  • noun The one coming, occurring, or ranking before or above all others.
  • noun The beginning; the outset.
  • noun Music The voice or instrument highest in pitch or carrying the principal part.
  • noun The transmission gear or corresponding gear ratio used to produce the range of lowest drive speeds in a motor vehicle.
  • noun The winning position in a contest.
  • noun First base.
  • noun A first baseman.
  • adjective Corresponding in order to the number one.
  • adjective Coming before all others in order or location.
  • adjective Occurring or acting before all others in time; earliest.
  • adjective Ranking above all others, as in importance or quality; foremost.
  • adjective Music Being highest in pitch or carrying the principal part.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or being the transmission gear or corresponding gear ratio used to produce the range of lowest drive speeds in a motor vehicle.
  • adjective Of, related to, or being a member of the US president's household.
  • adverb Before or above all others in time, order, rank, or importance.
  • adverb For the first time.
  • adverb Rather; preferably.
  • adverb In the first place; to begin with; firstly.
  • idiom (off/thing) From the start; immediately.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Before all others in place or progression, rank, order of time, etc.
  • Hence Sooner; before doing or suffering (that is, so as not to do or suffer) some act or result: as, I will not do it, I will die first.
  • noun Time; time granted; respite: same as frist.
  • Being before all others; being the initial unit or aggregate in order of occurrence or arrangement as to time, place, or rank: the ordinal of one.
  • Foremost in time; preceding all others of the kind in order of time: as, Adam was the first man; I was the first guest to arrive.
  • Foremost in place; before all others from the point of view or consideration: as, the first man in a rank or line.
  • Foremost in importance or estimation; before or superior to all others in character, quality, or degree: as, Demosthenes was the first orator of Greece; the part of first villain in a play; wheat of the first grade; specifically, in music, highest or chief among several voices or instruments of the same class: as, first alto; first horn.
  • Synonyms Primary, primordial, original, primitive, pristine, earliest. See comparison under primary.
  • Highest, chief, principal, capital, foremost, leading.
  • noun That which is first; the beginning. or that which makes or constitutes a beginning.
  • noun In music: The voice or instrument that takes the highest or chief part in its class, especially in an orchestra or chorus; a leader of a part or group of performers.
  • noun The interval and concord of the unison or prime. See unison and prime.
  • noun Same as first base (which see, above).
  • noun The highest rank in an examination for honors: as, he got a first in mathematics. See double-first.
  • noun Immediately.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) The upper part of a duet, trio, etc., either vocal or instrumental; -- so called because it generally expresses the air, and has a preëminence in the combined effect.
  • adjective Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest
  • adjective Foremost; in front of, or in advance of, all others.
  • adjective Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest.
  • adjective See under Blush.
  • adjective from the first or original source; without the intervention of any agent.
  • adjective (Plastering) the solid foundation of coarse stuff, on which the rest is placed; it is thick, and crossed with lines, so as to give a bond for the next coat.
  • adjective Sunday; -- so called by the Friends.
  • adjective [U.S.], [Eng.] The floor next above the ground floor.
  • adjective (Feudal Law), (Eng. Eccl. Law) The earliest effects or results.
  • adjective an officer in a merchant vessel next in rank to the captain.
  • adjective same as Christian name. See under Name, n.
  • adjective (Naut.) in the merchant service, same as First mate (above).


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

[Middle English, from Old English fyrst; see per in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English first, furst, fyrst, from Old English fyrst, fierst, first ("period, space of time, time, respite, truce"), from Proto-Germanic *fristaz, *fristan (“date, appointed time”), from Proto-Indo-European *pres-, *per- (“forward, forth, over, beyond”). Cognate with North Frisian ferst, frest ("period, time"), German Frist ("period, deadline, term"), Swedish frist ("deadline, respite, reprieve, time-limit"), Icelandic frestur ("period"). See also frist.


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  • I take pleasure in being first to disembark buses, planes, trains and ferries.

    April 30, 2010

  • Awwww, I just saw the first comment for this and I thought I could be "First! on first, but no.

    April 15, 2019

  • Clear runway over at firstest.

    April 22, 2019