give first refusal

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give somebody (the right of/to) first refusal

to offer to sell someone something before you offer it to anyone else (often + on ) I have given my existing publishers first refusal on my next book.
See also: first, give
References in classic literature ?
Of so little weight are the greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with a refusal to gratify their passions.
She did not know that on her acceptance or refusal depended the awful fate of many members of the human race!
You condemn yourself by your refusal," said the genius; then turning to me, he added, "and you, do you not know her?
We grew up, and with our growth grew the love between us, so that the father of Luscinda felt bound for propriety's sake to refuse me admission to his house, in this perhaps imitating the parents of that Thisbe so celebrated by the poets, and this refusal but added love to love and flame to flame; for though they enforced silence upon our tongues they could not impose it upon our pens, which can make known the heart's secrets to a loved one more freely than tongues; for many a time the presence of the object of love shakes the firmest will and strikes dumb the boldest tongue.
Tis clear that your invitation is too urgent to admit of refusal," quoth he, "and I go with you right willingly, my friends.
Their refusal would be too plausible a pretext to the complaining States to withhold their contributions, not to be embraced with avidity; and the non-compliance of these States with their engagements would be a ground of bitter discussion and altercation.
The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.
He had offered himself in marriage, through her notary, to Mademoiselle Armande, sister of the most distinguished noble in the town; to which offer he received a refusal.
Jack asked to be allowed to visit the ape, but again he was met with flat refusal.
Macfarlane had talked himself into some measure of superiority and confidence, but the uncommon energy of this refusal cast him back into his first confusion.
Carried away by my curiosity, I stretched out my hand to seize it, weigh it, and touch it; but the Captain stopped me, made a sign of refusal, and quickly withdrew his dagger, and the two shells closed suddenly.
He had learned that Dantes had been taken to prison, and he had gone to all his friends, and the influential persons of the city; but the report was already in circulation that Dantes was arrested as a Bonapartist agent; and as the most sanguine looked upon any attempt of Napoleon to remount the throne as impossible, he met with nothing but refusal, and had returned home in despair, declaring that the matter was serious and that nothing more could be done.
Collins, with a formal wave of the hand, "that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second, or even a third time.
Well, since the best motives are liable to misconstruction, the queen saw in your refusal nothing but a refusal -- a distinct refusal she had also much to complain of you during the lifetime of the late cardinal; yes, her majesty the queen "
He inquired the reason for their refusal, seeing that they were in nearly as starving a situation as his own people.