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first and foremost

Also,
first of all
. Most important, primarily; also, to begin with. For example,
First and foremost, I want to thank our sponsors
, or
What we need, first and foremost, is a new secretary
, or
We have to deal, first of all, with the early history
. The first term, dating from the late 1300s, is redundant, since
first
and
foremost
mean virtually the same thing. Both it and the variant, which dates from the mid-1500s, are used to give emphasis to the initial item in a list of several. Also see
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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