English - Pronunciation
English - Etymology 1
From Middle English first, furst, ferst, fyrst, from Old English fyrst, fyrest (“first, foremost, principal, chief, original”), from Proto-Germanic *furistaz (“foremost, first”), superlative of Proto-Germanic *fur, *fura, *furi (“before”), from Proto-Indo-European *per-, *pero- (“forward, beyond, around”), equivalent to fore + -est. Cognate with North Frisian foarste (“first”), Dutch voorste (“foremost, first”), German Fürst (“chief, prince”, literally “first (born)”), Swedish första (“first”), Icelandic fyrstur (“first”).
- Preceding all others of a series or kind; the ordinal of one; earliest.
Most eminent or exalted; most excellent; chief; highest.
1784: William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c., PREFACE
- THE favourable reception the Orrery has met with from Perſons of the firſt diſtinction, and from Gentlemen and Ladies in general, has induced me to add to it ſeveral new improvements in order to give it a degree of Perfection; and diſtinguiſh it from others; which by Piracy, or Imitation, may be introduced to the Public.
- 1784: William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c., PREFACE
- (uncountable) The person or thing in the first position.
- (uncountable) The first gear of an engine.
- (countable) Something that has never happened before; a new occurrence.
- (countable, baseball) first base
- (countable, UK, colloquial) A first-class honours degree.
- (countable, colloquial) A first-edition copy of some publication.
- A fraction of an integer ending in one.
English - Etymology 2
From Middle English first, furst, fyrst, from Old English fyrst, fierst, first (“period, space of time, time, respite, truce”), from Proto-Germanic *fristaz, *fristą (“date, appointed time”), from Proto-Indo-European *pres-, *per- (“forward, forth, over, beyond”). Cognate with North Frisian ferst, frest (“period, time”), German Frist (“period, deadline, term”), Swedish frist (“deadline, respite, reprieve, time-limit”), Icelandic frestur (“period”). See also frist.