American English

Definition of first noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1the first [countable] (pl. the first) the first person or thing mentioned; the first person or thing to do a particular thing I was the first in my family to go to college. Sheila and Jim were the first to arrive. I'd be the first to admit (= I willingly admit) I might be wrong. The first I heard about the wedding (= the first time I became aware of it) was when I saw it in the local paper.
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] an achievement, event, etc., never done or experienced before We went on a cruise, a first for both of us.
  3. 3(also first gear) [uncountable] the lowest gear on a car, bicycle, etc. that you use when you are moving slowly He put the car in first and revved it.
  4. Idioms
    first among equals
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    the person or thing with the highest status in a group
    from the (very) first
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    from the beginning They were attracted to each other from the first.
    from first to last
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    from beginning to end; during the whole time It's a fine performance that commands attention from first to last.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: first