first• She made her firstappearance on the stage in the 1950s.• She had her firstbaby in 1998.• I read the firstchapter and got so scared I couldn't finish the book.• I've only read the first chapter, but it seems like a really good book.• I still remember my first day of school.• Put the first five ingredients into a large pot and simmer gently for an hour.• the firstMonday of every month• Laurie's name was first on the list.• Our firstpriority is to maintain the quality of the product.• The first thing I ever had published was an article for the Boy Scoutmagazine.• Jenkins left his firstwife after only two years of marriage.first and last• Instead of pressing the spacebar anywhere between the first and lastcharacters of the text, press the Home spacebar.• These records included the first and lastdates of all absences and the reason for absence.• At Banff I climbed my first and lastmountain - Mount Rundle.• I sat back and treated myself to a cigarette, determined to make it the first and last of the day.• And a system whose first and lastresort was all too often expediency.• For the first and last time in her life, Amelia was too preoccupied to interact with her peers.• It was the first and last time that managementcapitulated in the face of a departingmortgagetrader.• She wrote that she was dying of a fever, and asked him to visit her for the first and last time.firstfirst2 ●●●S1W2 adverb1before anything or anyone elseCindy and Joe arrived first.An extra five points will be given to the team that finishes first.First of all we’d better make sure we’ve got everything we need.2before doing anything else, or before anything else happensI’ll join you in a minute but I need to make a phone call first.3done for the first timeThe book was first published in 2000.4at the beginning of a situation or activityWhen we were first married we lived in Toronto.We first became friends when we worked together.5[sentence adverb] (also first of all) used before saying the first of several things you want to say syn firstlyFirst, I’d like to thank everyone for coming.6 →first off7 →first up8 →put somebody/something first9 →come first10 →first and foremost11 →first and last12 →first come, first servedGrammarChoosing the right tenseFirst is used with the simple past: We first met in 2005.✗Don’t say: We have first met in 2005.Word order• First usually comes before a main verb: I first went to Paris two years ago.• First comes after ‘be’ when it is the main verb: I was first in Paris two years ago.• First comes after the first auxiliary: When did you first realize you wanted to be a doctor?THESAURUSfirst/firstly used when mentioning the first in a list of reasons, arguments, or questions to considerI want you to consider these three points in your essay: first, what is the writer’s attitude to the war in this poem ...There are several reasons for this conclusion. Firstly ...first of all used especially to emphasize that the first of several things you are going to say is the most important thingThe content of the article must, first of all, be accurate.First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last two years.in the first place spoken (also for a start British English) spoken used when giving the first and most important reason or example, especially when you are arguing or discussing something with someoneOur main priority should be better public transport – in the first place to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads.He’s not the right person for the job. For a start he’s too young.to begin with/to start with spoken used when telling someone the first and most important thing that you want to sayThere are numerous activities on offer. To start with there are over 60 miles of walks with splendid views.Let me tell you something about him. To begin with, he is the most difficult man that I know.
Examples from the Corpus
first• "Shall we go for some lunch?" "Yeah, great, let me just make a quick call first."• Who's going first?• I always read the sports page of the newspaperfirst.• It's mine - I saw it first.• Shall we go out now, or do you want to eat first?• Shall we fill in the forms first, and get that out of the way?• We first became friends when we were teenagers.• When she first became pregnant, she contemplated an abortion, but eventually gave birth.• Yet it was designed in the 1970s, and firstflew in 1981; the technology is rooted in those days.• Meanwhile, sociologists quotestatistics that suggest that women who establishcareersfirst have relatively small probabilities of getting married.• When I first heard about what happened, I thought it was a joke.• You can borrow the book, but first I've got to find it.• Johnson finished first in the 100-meterdash.• This strategy has worked best for those who were first in the cyber economy, the pioneers of the landlesscontinent.• First, Jack would not allow it, and second, I don't think Mom would like it much either.• I'll help you with your homework, but first let me finish the dishes.• I first met Bobby when he enrolled in a summerprogram I had developed for underprepared students.• Simmons' book was first published in Australia last year.• It was here that I first started to get a closer feel for what the militaryoperations were.• We have to think about that first, the Marlins second.• Add the onions and garlicfirst, then the mushrooms.First of all• Vincente frowned. First of all he picked up my clubs, pronounced them useless and advised me to sell them forthwith.• But some people were not happy about the accident. First of all, her boyfriend, Drew Stephens.• DearBashFirst of all I'd like to compliment you on such a brill and fabbo magazine.• I swung my boots up on to the bed and stretched out full length. First of all, I was not dead.• Well yes actually. First of all, it still costs £21,500 and for the money, almost nothing even gets close.• Now these are not going to be here for very much longer. First of all, the tank is too small.• I unpacked all the things he'd bought. First of all, there was G.P.'s picture.• First of all , we'd better make sure we have everything we need.firstfirst3 ●●●S2W2 noun1 →at first2[countable usually singular] something that has never happened or been done beforefirst forThe 3–0 defeat was a first for the team.These results are firsts in the history of women’s athletics.‘I think he’ll agree to it.’ ‘That will be a first.’3 →from the (very) first4[countable] the highest mark you can get in a universitydegree in BritainHelen got a first in Law.5[uncountable] the lowest gear in a car or other vehicle, that you use when moving slowly syn first gearin firstYou should be in first on a hill like this.He put the car into first and roared away.