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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishfirstfirst1 /fɜːst $ fɜːrst/ ●●● S1 W1 adjective  1 in a seriesFIRST coming before all the other things or people in a series Ella was his first girlfriend.the first thing/time/day etc The first time I flew on a plane I was really nervous. In the first year, all students take five courses. He said the first thing that came into his head. the first step towards achieving a peace agreement There’s a meeting on the first Monday of every month.the first two/three/few etc I only read the first two chapters of the book. It rained during the first few days of the trip. The first and last mountain I climbed was Mount Rundle (=it was the only mountain I ever climbed).2 for the first time3 mainMAIN most important Our first priority is to maintain the standard of work. As I see it, my first responsibility is to my family.4 in the first place5 in the first instance6 at first glance/sight7 first things first8 (at) first hand9 first prize/place10 first choice11 first thing12 at first light13 make the first move14 not have the first idea about something15 the first flush of something16 job title used in the title of someone’s job or position to show that they have a high rank the first officer the First Lord of the Admiralty17 first among equals18 of the first water
Examples from the Corpus
firstShe made her first appearance on the stage in the 1950s.She had her first baby in 1998.I read the first chapter 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 first Monday of every monthLaurie's name was first on the list.Our first priority is to maintain the quality of the product.The first thing I ever had published was an article for the Boy Scout magazine.Jenkins left his first wife after only two years of marriage.first and lastInstead of pressing the spacebar anywhere between the first and last characters of the text, press the Home spacebar.These records included the first and last dates of all absences and the reason for absence.At Banff I climbed my first and last mountain - 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 last resort 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 management capitulated in the face of a departing mortgage trader.She wrote that she was dying of a fever, and asked him to visit her for the first and last time.
firstfirst2 ●●● S1 W2 adverb  1 before anything or anyone else Cindy 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.2 before doing anything else, or before anything else happens I’ll join you in a minute but I need to make a phone call first.3 done for the first time The book was first published in 2000.4 at the beginning of a situation or activity When 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 firstly First, 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 orderFirst 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 newspaper first.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 first flew in 1981; the technology is rooted in those days.Meanwhile, sociologists quote statistics that suggest that women who establish careers first 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-meter dash.This strategy has worked best for those who were first in the cyber economy, the pioneers of the landless continent.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 summer program 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 military operations were.We have to think about that first, the Marlins second.Add the onions and garlic first, then the mushrooms.First of allVincente 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.Dear Bash First 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 ●●● S2 W2 noun  1 at first2 [countable usually singular] something that has never happened or been done beforefirst for The 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 university degree in Britain Helen 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 first You should be in first on a hill like this. He put the car into first and roared away.
Examples from the Corpus
That will be a firstBarbara has won countless glamorous grandmother contests since becoming the first ever winner of the Widnes title in 1977.Get the men digging first though.In essence, this was his first fight since Garcia, which was almost a year ago.Stuart shook his head, and for the first time I saw that he was honestly impressed.The company's first problem was with the ASICs which proved six months late.The moon was high and the first birds had begun calling from the shrubs and marsh grass by the edge.The ratios generated by the capture-recapture method display a remarkable similarity and identical ranking to those obtained by the first two methods.The spirited debate that follows is cut off by the bell for the first bus.
firstfirst4 ●●● S2 W2 pronoun  1 the first2 the first I knew/heard3 the First
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