In the first place

From the beginning, at the outset, before anything else. For example, Why didn’t you tell me in the first place that you’ve decided to leave? or He could have bought a new one in the first place.
As the first of several items in order of importance. This phrase is usually accompanied by in the second place, third place, and so on, as in I’m not joining the health club because, in the first place, I don’t like their hours, and in the second place, I can’t afford the dues. [ First half of 1600s ]
Also see: for one


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  • In the flush of

    Also, in the first or full flush of. During a sudden rush of a strong positive feeling regarding something, as in In the first flush of victory he decided to take all his friends to dinner. This expression employs flush in the sense of “a bout of emotion or passion.” [ c. 1600 ]

  • In the foot

    Related Terms shoot oneself in the foot

  • In the fullness of time

    Within the appropriate or destined time, as in We’ll know if it’s a boy or a girl in the fullness of time. This expression employs fullness in the sense of “a complete or ample measure or degree.” [ Early 1600s ]

  • In the gutter

    Related Terms have one’s mind in the gutter Appropriate to or from a squalid, degraded condition. For example, The language in that book belongs in the gutter. An antonym, out of the gutter, means “away from vulgarity or sordidness,” as in That joke was quite innocent; get your mind out of the gutter. This idiom […]

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