First and Foremost: What does “First and Foremost” Mean?

First and Foremost! Idioms are clever ways to convey thoughts and feelings through figurative speech. Many popular idioms still used today actually originated hundreds of years ago. One of those common idioms is “first and foremost.” Here you will find the meaning of the phrase, its origin story, examples of how it is used in everyday conversation/statements and other ways to say the same thing.

First and Foremost

First and Foremost Meaning

The phrase “first and foremost” is used when you want to put emphasis on the first thing people should notice about something or someone.

Origin of this idiomatic expression

The phrase first appeared in writing and speech in the 1300s. “First of all” is a variant of the same phrase and has been used widely as well since the mid-1500s.

“First and Foremost” Examples

Examples in Statements

A football player talking to a reporter after losing a game.

  • First and foremost, we need to work on our passing game for next time.”

A passionate woman standing to deliver a speech a rally for the environment.

  • First and foremost, we must accept that global warming is a real threat and take the necessary steps to heal our environment.”

Examples in Conversation

A conversation between a mother and father.

  • Mother: I can’t believe that Johnny took the car out today without permission and ended up in an accident.
  • Father: I know, but he is a kid and kids make mistakes.
  • Mother: Well, what matters first and foremost is that he is okay, but as soon as he gets home he is grounded for a month!

A conversation between a boss and employee.

  • Employee: I don’t know how I managed to trip and fall down the stairs, but it could have been worse.
  • Boss: All that matters first and foremost is that you are not seriously injured and that no one else was hurt in the process.
  • Employee: Yes, the only thing hurt for me is my pride.

Other examples:

  • He does a bit of writing, but first and foremost he’s a teacher.
  • First and foremost, Borland have taken the Windows interface and used it to good advantage.
  • First and foremost, this involved a whole battery of controls over production and consumption.

Other Ways to Say “First and Foremost”

There are many other ways to say “first and foremost” and convey the same meaning. For example, you could say “primarily,” “this is more important than” or “this takes precedence over everything else.”

List of “First and Foremost” synonyms:

  1. Primarily
  2. First of all
  3. Above all
  4. Firstly
  5. Mainly
  6. Principally
  7. Particularly
  8. This is more important than
  9. Mostly
  10. First
  11. Most importantly
  12. First ever
  13. Primary
  14. This takes precedence over everything else
  15. First and principal
  16. At first
  17. First and most important

Learn more with Common English Idioms Frequently Used in Daily English Conversations

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First and Foremost