[first] adj [ME, fr. OE fyrst; akin to OHG furist first, OE faran to go--more at fare] (bef. 12c): preceding all others in time, order, or importance: as a: earliest b: being the lowest forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle c: having the highest or most prominent part among a group of similar voices or instruments "~ tenor" "~ violins"
first adv (bef. 12c) 1 a: before another in time, space, or importance b: in the first place--often used with of all c: for the first time
2: in preference to something else: sooner first n (13c) 1: one that is number one in a countable series
2: something that is first: as a: the first occurrence or item of a kind b: the first forward gear or speed of a motor vehicle c: the highest or chief voice or instrument of a group d: an article of commerce of the finest grade e: the winning or highest place in a competition, examination, or contest
3: first base -- at first : at the beginning: initially