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first

[furst] /fɜrst/
adjective
1.
being before all others with respect to time, order, rank, importance, etc., used as the ordinal number of one: the first edition; the first vice president.
2.
Music. highest or chief among several voices or instruments of the same class:
first alto; first horn.
3.
Automotive. low (def 31).
4.
(often initial capital letter) being a member of the household or an intimate acquaintance of the president of the U.S. or of the governor of a state:
the First Lady; Checkers, the first dog.
adverb
5.
before all others or anything else in time, order, rank, etc.
6.
before some other thing, event, etc.:
If you're going, phone first.
7.
for the first time:
She first visited Atlanta in 1980.
8.
in preference to something else; rather; sooner:
I'd die first.
9.
in the first place; firstly.
noun
10.
the person or thing that is first in time, order, rank, etc.
11.
the beginning.
12.
the first part; first member of a series.
13.
Music.
  1. the voice or instrument that takes the highest or chief part in its class, especially in an orchestra or chorus.
  2. a leader of a part or group of performers.
14.
Automotive. low gear; first gear:
She shifted into first and drove off.
15.
the winning position or rank in a race or other competition.
16.
Baseball. first base.
17.
Usually, firsts. Commerce.
  1. a product or goods of the first or highest quality.
  2. goods produced according to specifications, without visible flaws.
Compare second1 (def 23), third (def 12).
18.
British University.
  1. first-class honors.
    Compare class (def 18).
  2. a person who has won such honors.
Idioms
19.
first and last, everything considered; above all else; altogether:
First and last, it is important to know oneself.
20.
first off, Informal. at the outset; immediately:
He wanted to know first off why he hadn't been notified.
21.
first thing, before anything else; at once; promptly:
I'll call you first thing when I arrive.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English; Old English fyr(e)st (see fore1, -est); cognate with German Fürst prince
Related forms
firstness, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for first and last

first

/fɜːst/
adjective (usually prenominal)
1.
  1. coming before all others; earliest, best, or foremost
  2. (as noun): I was the first to arrive
2.
preceding all others in numbering or counting order; the ordinal number of one. Often written: 1st
3.
rated, graded, or ranked above all other levels
4.
denoting the lowest forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle
5.
(music)
  1. denoting the highest part assigned to one of the voice parts in a chorus or one of the sections of an orchestra: first soprano, the first violins
  2. denoting the principal player in a specific orchestral section: he plays first horn
6.
first thing, as the first action of the day: I'll see you first thing tomorrow
7.
first things first, things must be done in order of priority
8.
(in negative constructions) the first thing, even one thing: he doesn't know the first thing about me
noun
9.
the beginning; outset: I knew you were a rogue from the first, I couldn't see at first because of the mist
10.
(education, mainly Brit) an honours degree of the highest class Full term first-class honours degree
11.
something which has not occurred before: a first for the company
12.
the lowest forward ratio of a gearbox in a motor vehicle; low gear
13.
(music)
  1. the highest part in a particular section of a chorus or orchestra
  2. the instrument or voice taking such a part
  3. the chief or leading player in a section of an orchestra; principal
14.
(music) a rare word for prime (sense 11)
adverb
15.
before anything else in order, time, preference, importance, etc: do this first, first, remove the head and tail of the fish
16.
first and last, on the whole; overall
17.
from first to last, throughout
18.
for the first time: I've loved you since I first saw you
19.
(sentence modifier) in the first place or beginning of a series of actions: first I want to talk about criminality
See also firsts
Word Origin
Old English fyrest; related to Old Saxon furist, Old Norse fyrstr, German Fürst prince, one who is first in rank
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for first and last

first

adj., adv.

Old English fyrst "foremost," superlative of fore; from Proto-Germanic *furisto- (cf. Old Saxon fuirst "first," Old High German furist, Old Norse fyrstr, Danish første, Old Frisian ferist, Middle Dutch vorste "prince," Dutch vorst "first," German Fürst "prince"), superlative of *fur-/*for-, from PIE root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

First-class (adj.) is from 1837; first-rate (1660s) is from classes of warships in the British navy. First aid is that given at the scene, pending the arrival of a doctor.

First Lady as an informal title for the wife of a U.S. president was in use by 1908, short for First lady of the land (by 1863 with reference to the president's wife). First name is attested from mid-13c.; first-born is from mid-14c. First base "a start" (1938) is a figurative use from the game of baseball.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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first and last in Medicine

first (fûrst)
adj.

  1. Coming before all others in order or location.

  2. Occurring or acting before all others in time; earliest.

  3. Being the innermost digit, especially on a foot.


first n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Related Abbreviations for first and last

FIRST

Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with first and last

first and last

Under all circumstances, always, as in She was an artist first and last . (For a synonym, see above all) This expression, first recorded in 1589, should not be confused with the similar-sounding from first to last , which means “from start to finish” or “throughout,” as in We cheered them on from first to last .
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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