— firstness , adj.
/ferrst/ , adj.
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. ( often cap. ) being a member of the household or an intimate acquaintance of the president of the U.S. or of the governor of a state: the First Lady; Checkers, the first dog.
5. first thing , before anything else; at once; promptly: I'll call you first thing when I arrive.
6. before all others or anything else in time, order, rank, etc.
7. before some other thing, event, etc.: If you're going, phone first.
8. for the first time: She first visited Atlanta in 1980.
9. in preference to something else; rather; sooner: I'd die first.
10. in the first place; firstly.
11. first and last , everything considered; above all else; altogether: First and last, it is important to know oneself.
12. first off , Informal. at the outset; immediately: He wanted to know first off why he hadn't been notified.
13. the person or thing that is first in time, order, rank, etc.
14. the beginning.
15. the first part; first member of a series.
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.
17. Auto. low gear; first gear: She shifted into first and drove off.
18. the winning position or rank in a race or other competition.
19. Baseball. See first base .
20. Usually, firsts . Com.
a. a product or goods of the first or highest quality.
b. goods produced according to specifications, without visible flaws. Cf. second 1 (def. 23), third (def. 12).
21. Brit. Univ.
a. first-class honors. Cf. class (def. 18).
b. a person who has won such honors.
[ bef. 1000; ME; OE fyr ( e ) st (see FORE 1 , -EST); c. G Fürst prince ]