How to use
in a series
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.
first and last
mountain I climbed was Mount Rundle
it was the only mountain I ever climbed
for the first time
used to say that something has never happened or been done before
For the first time in his life he felt truly happy.
The survey revealed that, for the first time, there are more women in the workplace than men.
Not for the first time
she wondered how he coped with so many children.
Our first priority is to maintain the standard of work.
As I see it, my first responsibility is to my family.
in the first place
used to talk about the beginning of a situation, or the situation before something happened
Why did you agree to meet her in the first place?
He wouldn't have given you the job in the first place if he didn't think you could do it.
used to give the first in a list of reasons or points
Her success was secured by two factors. In the first place, she had the support of managers.
in the first instance
at the start of a situation or series of actions
The appointment of research officer will be for two years in the first instance.
Enquiries should be made in the first instance to the Human Resources Director.
at first glance/sight
the first time that you look at someone or something, before you notice any details
At first glance the twins look identical.
At first sight, there didn't appear to be much damage.
➔ love at first sight
first things first
used to say that something should be done or dealt with first because it is the most important
(at) first hand
if you see, experience, hear etc something at first hand, you see, experience etc it yourself, not through other people
Many people have seen the horrors of war at first hand.
the prize that is given to the best person or thing in a competition
win/take first prize
She won first prize in a painting competition.
first prize/place of
There is a first prize of £10,000.
the thing or person you like best
John was our first choice as a name for the baby.
as soon as you get up in the morning, or as soon as you start work
I'll call you first thing tomorrow.
We're leaving first thing.
at first light
very early in the morning
The search will resume at first light tomorrow.
make the first move
to be the person who starts to do something when someone else is too nervous, embarrassed etc to do it
He was glad she had made the first move and kissed him.
not have the first idea about something
not know/understand the first thing about something
to not know anything about a subject, or not know how to do something
I wouldn't have the first idea about what to do in that situation.
I don't know the first thing about cars.
the first flush of something
the beginning of a good period of time when you are young, successful etc
be in the first flush of passion/youth etc
He was no longer in the first flush of youth.
The first flush of enthusiasm had passed.
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 Admiralty
first among equals
someone who is officially on the same level as other people but really has more power
of the first water
of the highest quality
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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