English

Definition of first adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    first

     adverb
    adverb
    BrE BrE//fɜːst//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//fɜːrst//
     
     
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  1. 1  before anyone or anything else; at the beginning ‘Do you want a drink?’ ‘I'll finish my work first.’ First I had to decide what to wear. Who came first in the race (= who won)? It plunged nose first into the river.
  2. 2  for the first time When did you first meet him?
  3. 3  used to introduce the first of a list of points you want to make in a speech or piece of writing synonym firstly This method has two advantages: first it is cheaper and second it is quicker. Language BankfirstOrdering your points This study has the following aims: first, to investigate how international students in the UK use humour; second, to examine how jokes can help to establish social relationships; and, third, to explore the role that humour plays in helping overseas students adjust to life in the UK. Let us begin by identifying some of the popular joke genres in the UK. Next, let us turn to/Next, let us consider the question of gender differences in the use of humour. Finally/Lastly, let us briefly examine the role of humour in defining a nation’s culture. note at firstly, lastly language bank at conclusion, process1 Language BankprocessDescribing a process This diagram illustrates the process of paper-making./This diagram shows how paper is made. First/First of all, logs are delivered to a paper mill, where the bark is removed and the wood is cut into small chips. Next/Second, the wood chips are pulped, either using chemicals or in a pulping machine. Pulping breaks down the internal structure of the wood and enables/allows the natural oils to be removed. Once/After the wood has been pulped, the pulp is bleached in order to remove impurities. /…is bleached so that impurities can be removed. The next stage is to feed the pulp into the paper machine, where it is mixed with water and then poured onto a wire conveyor belt. As the pulp travels along the conveyor belt, the water drains away. This causes the solid material to sink to the bottom, forming a layer of paper. At this point the new paper is still wet, so it is passed between large heated rollers, which press out the remaining water and simultaneously dry the paper/…dry the paper at the same time. The final stage is to wind the paper onto large rolls./Finally, the paper is wound onto large rolls.
  4. 4used to emphasize that you are determined not to do something She swore that she wouldn't apologize—she'd die first!
  5. Which Word?firstly / first of all / at first Firstly and first (of all) are used to introduce a series of facts, reasons, opinions, etc:The brochure is divided into two sections, dealing firstly with basic courses and secondly with advanced ones. Firstly is more common in British English than in North American English. At first is used to talk about the situation at the beginning of a period of time, especially when you are comparing it with a different situation at a later period:Maggie had seen him nearly every day at first. Now she saw him much less. Word Origin Old English fyr(e)st; of Germanic origin, related to Old Norse fyrstr and German Fürst ‘prince’, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit prathama, Latin primus, and Greek prōtos.Idioms  at or in the beginning I didn't like the job much at first. At first I thought he was shy, but then I discovered he was just not interested in other people. (saying) If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Which Word?firstly / first of all / at first Firstly and first (of all) are used to introduce a series of facts, reasons, opinions, etc:The brochure is divided into two sections, dealing firstly with basic courses and secondly with advanced ones. Firstly is more common in British English than in North American English. At first is used to talk about the situation at the beginning of a period of time, especially when you are comparing it with a different situation at a later period:Maggie had seen him nearly every day at first. Now she saw him much less. to be considered more important than anything else In any decision she makes, her family always comes first.
    1. 1with your feet touching the ground before any other part of your body He landed feet first.
    2. 2(humorous) if you leave a place feet first, you are carried out after you are dead You'll have to carry me out feet first!
    more than anything else He does a little teaching, but first and foremost he's a writer. More Like This Alliteration in idioms belt and braces, black and blue, born and bred, chalk and cheese, chop and change, done and dusted, down and dirty, in dribs and drabs, eat somebody out of house and home, facts and figures, fast and furious, first and foremost, forgive and forget, hale and hearty, hem and haw, kith and kin, mix and match, part and parcel, puff and pant, to rack and ruin, rant and rave, risk life and limb, short and sweet, signed and sealed, spic and span, through thick and thin, this and that, top and tail, tried and tested, wax and waneSee worksheet. in every way that is important; completely She regarded herself, first and last, as a musician.
    first come, first served
     
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    (saying) people will be dealt with, seen, etc. strictly in the order in which they arrive Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis.
    1. 1  before doing anything else; at the beginning First of all, let me ask you something. Language BankprocessDescribing a process This diagram illustrates the process of paper-making./This diagram shows how paper is made. First/First of all, logs are delivered to a paper mill, where the bark is removed and the wood is cut into small chips. Next/Second, the wood chips are pulped, either using chemicals or in a pulping machine. Pulping breaks down the internal structure of the wood and enables/allows the natural oils to be removed. Once/After the wood has been pulped, the pulp is bleached in order to remove impurities. /…is bleached so that impurities can be removed. The next stage is to feed the pulp into the paper machine, where it is mixed with water and then poured onto a wire conveyor belt. As the pulp travels along the conveyor belt, the water drains away. This causes the solid material to sink to the bottom, forming a layer of paper. At this point the new paper is still wet, so it is passed between large heated rollers, which press out the remaining water and simultaneously dry the paper/…dry the paper at the same time. The final stage is to wind the paper onto large rolls./Finally, the paper is wound onto large rolls.
    2. 2  as the most important thing The content of any article needs, first of all, to be relevant to the reader.
    (informal, especially British English) before anything else First off, let's see how much it'll cost. (British English, informal) to start with; before anything else
    1. 1moving forwards or downwards with your head in front of the rest of your body He fell head first down the stairs.
    2. 2without thinking carefully about something before acting She got divorced and rushed head first into another marriage.
    3. synonym headlong
    put somebody/something first
     
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    to consider somebody/something to be more important than anyone/anything else She always puts her children first.
    (saying) safety is the most important thing
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: first