Pronunciation: (fûrst), [key]
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. Auto.low (def. 31).
4. first thing, before anything else; at once; promptly: I'll call you first thing when I arrive.

1. before all others or anything else in time, order, rank, etc.
2. before some other thing, event, etc.: If you're going, phone first.
3. for the first time: She first visited Atlanta in 1980.
4. in preference to something else; rather; sooner: I'd die first.
5. in the first place; firstly.
6. first and last, everything considered; above all else; altogether: First and last, it is important to know oneself.
7. first off, the outset; immediately: He wanted to know first off why he hadn't been notified.

1. the person or thing that is first in time, order, rank, etc.
2. the beginning.
3. the first part; first member of a series.
4. Music.
a. the voice or instrument that takes the highest or chief part in its class, esp. in an orchestra or chorus.
b. a leader of a part or group of performers.
5. Auto.low gear; first gear: She shifted into first and drove off.
6. the winning position or rank in a race or other competition.
7. Baseball.See first base.
8. Usually, firsts. Com.
a. a product or goods of the first or highest quality.
b. goods produced according to specifications, without visible flaws. Cf. second1 (def. 23), third (def. 12).
9. Brit. Univ.
a. first-class honors. Cf. class (def. 18).
b. a person who has won such honors.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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