first thing

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first thing (not comparable)

  1. Early in the morning.
    I'll meet you first thing at the station.
  2. Straight away, very soon.
    • 2009, Alex J. Packer, Bringing Up Parents: The Teenager's Handbook, ISBN 1442992530:
      I'll do it first thing after school tomorrow.
    • 2012, Cd Harper, And Face the Unknown: The Journey of a Lincoln-freed Colored, ISBN 1475947569:
      You had to see it first thing, 'cause it was the first thing that caught the eye.
    • 2013, Nelson Searcy, ‎Jennifer Dykes Henson, The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry, ISBN 1441224408, page 2013:
      Whatever it is, getting it out of the way is crucial to your forward momentum. So, to borrow a phrase from Nike, just do it—and do it first thing.


first thing (plural first things)

  1. The basic idea of how to do something.
    I would help you, but I don't know the first thing about gardening.
  2. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see first,‎ thing.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.

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