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Initially, at the start, as in
At first the berries were green, but when they ripened they turned bright red
Second half of 1500s
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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A man is like a suntan: at first he sticks to a woman, then he fades away.
Be petty at first, and a gentleman later.
The advantage of love at first sight is that it delays a second sight.
Natalie Clifford Barney
Nearby words for at first
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at first blush
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at one fell swoop