English Thesaurus

Synonyms of 'first'

(adjective) 
Definition
earliest in time or order
Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon.the first few flakes of snow
Synonyms
earliest
the earliest confirmed case of swine flu
,
initial
The initial reaction has been excellent.
,
opening
the season's opening game
,
introductory
an introductory course in religion and theology
,
original
The Dayaks were the original inhabitants of Borneo.
, ,
primitive
primitive birds from the dinosaur era
,
primordial
Twenty million years ago this was dense primordial forest.
,
primeval
a vast expanse of primeval swamp
,
(adjective) 
Definition
rated, graded, or ranked above all other levels
The first prize is thirty-one thousand pounds.
Synonyms
top
He was the top student in physics.
,
best
He was the best player in the world for most of the 1950s.
,
winning
The winning team returned home to a great welcome.
,
premier
the country's premier opera company
(adjective) 
It is time to go back to first principles.
Synonyms
elementary
Literacy now includes elementary computer skills.
, ,
basic
Access to justice is a basic right.
,
primary
our primary needs of air, food and water
,
fundamental
the fundamental principles of democracy
,
cardinal
The cardinal rule is to do everything you can to satisfy the customer.
,
rudimentary
He had only a rudimentary knowledge of French.
,
elemental
the elemental theory of music
(adjective) 
Definition
rated, graded, or ranked above all other levels
The first priority for development is to defeat inflation.
Synonyms
foremost
He was one of the world's foremost scholars.
,
highest
,
greatest
,
leading
Britain's future as a leading industrial nation depends on investment.
,
head
I had the head man out from the gas company.
,
ruling
a ruling passion for liberty and equality
,
chief
Financial stress is acknowledged as a chief reason for divorce.
The job went to one of his chief rivals.
,
prime
Political stability is a prime concern.
,
supreme
He proposes to make himself the supreme overlord.
,
principal
Their principal concern is that of winning the next election.
,
paramount
The welfare of the children must be of paramount importance.
,
overriding
Our overriding concern is to raise the standards of state education.
,
pre-eminent
He is the pre-eminent political figure in the country.
(noun) 
It is a first for New York.
Synonyms
novelty
The radical puritanism of Conceptual art and Minimalism had lost its novelty.
,
innovation
We must promote originality and encourage innovation.
,
originality
the startling originality of his writing
,
new experience
(adverb) 
Definition
before anything else
I do not remember who spoke first.
Synonyms
to begin with
It was great to begin with but now it's difficult.
,
firstly
Firstly, vitamin C is needed for hormone production.
,
initially
Initially, they were wary of us.
,
at the beginning
,
in the first place
, ,
to start with
,
at the outset
,
before all else

Quotation

Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first [Bible: St. Mark]

proverbs

First come, first served
First things first

Additional synonyms

in the sense of basic
Definition
of or forming a base or basis
Access to justice is a basic right.
in the sense of best
Definition
most excellent of a particular group, category, etc.
He was the best player in the world for most of the 1950s.
Synonyms
finest,
top,
most accomplished,
most skilful,
most excellent,
in the sense of cardinal
Definition
fundamentally important
The cardinal rule is to do everything you can to satisfy the customer.

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Video: pronunciation of 'first'

Source

Thesaurus for first from the Collins English Thesaurus
Life on the edge
The desire to push the boundaries has been a motivator in many a daring expedition, testing the human spirit and physical abilities to the utmost. Indulge your adventurous spirit by exploring some associated ‘extreme’ vocabulary. Will you have the survival skills to master our quiz?
Read more
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