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See also: Foremost



From Old English formest, fyrmest (earliest, first, most prominent), from Proto-Germanic *frumistaz, from the locative stem *fur-, *fr- + the superlative suffix *-umistaz, stem ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *pr-. The suffix *-umistaz was a compound suffix, created from the rarer comparative suffix *-umô (as in Old English fruma) + the regular superlative suffix *-istaz (English -est); *-umô in turn is from Proto-Indo-European *-mHo-.

Cognate with Old Frisian formest, Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌿𐌼𐌹𐍃𐍄𐍃 (frumists). See for, first and Old English fruma for more. Partially cognate to primus, from Proto-Indo-European *pr- + Latin superlative suffix -imus, from Proto-Indo-European *-mHo-.

A comparative former was back-formed analogically, leaving the m from *-umô in place. Later the Old English suffix complex -(u)m-est was conflated with the word most through folk etymology, so that the word is now interpreted as fore +‎ -most.



foremost (not comparable)

  1. first, either in time or in space
  2. Most forward; front
  3. of a higher rank or position; paramount
  4. (nautical) closest to the bow



foremost (not comparable)

  1. in front
  2. prominently forward
  3. especially; particularly
    • 2001, Chantel Laran Sawyer Lumpkin, The Influences of Assets on the Academic Achievement of African American College Students, p. 155:
      As dependent minors the foremost proximal system was family, followed by school and community.
    • 2013, Robert Woods, Evangelical Christians and Popular Culture: Pop Goes the Gospel, p. XXIX:
      Lewis is the twentieth century's foremost popular writer and the most influential public intellectual for evangelicals.
    • 2019, Louise Taylor, Alex Morgan heads USA past England into Women’s World Cup final (in The Guardian, 2 July 2019)[1]
      England head to Nice for Saturday’s third-place playoff after yet more semi-final disappointment but with heads held high having played their part in a wonderful game featuring some particularly harsh luck. Foremost among it was the marginal offside which saw an Ellen White goal disallowed and, later, a penalty miss by Steph Houghton.