first come, first served

Cultural Dictionary

first come, first served definition


Those who are first to arrive will be the first to be waited on.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

first come, first served

Those who precede others will have their needs attended to earliest, as in So many people showed up that we may not have enough food to go around, so let it be "first come, first served." The idea is very old, but the first recorded use of this precise phrase was in 1545. Also see early bird catches the worm.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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