first come, first served


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first come, first served

The first people present will be the first to receive something, often something that is available in limited quantities. The first hundred people will get a free T-shirt—it's first come, first served.
See also: first, serve
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

First come, first served.

Prov. The first people to arrive will be able to get the best choices. You can't reserve a seat at the movie theater; it's strictly first come, first served. We should get to the book sale as soon as they open; it's first come, first served.
See also: first, serve
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

first come, first served

Those who precede others will have their needs attended to earliest, as in So many people showed up that we may not have enough food to go around, so let it be "first come, first served ." The idea is very old, but the first recorded use of this precise phrase was in 1545. Also see early bird catches the worm.
See also: first, serve
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

first come first served

COMMON You say first come first served to show that a group of people will be dealt with or given something in the order in which they arrive. There will be five buses, first come first served. Note: People often say that something will be done or given on a first come first served basis. Tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
See also: come, first, serve
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

first come, first served

used to indicate that people will be dealt with strictly in the order in which they arrive or apply.
See also: first, serve
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ˌfirst ˈcome, ˌfirst ˈserved

(saying) people will be dealt with, seen, etc. strictly in the order in which they arrive, apply, etc: We have 100 tickets for the performance, and they will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
See also: first, serve
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

first come, first served

The prompt get first choice. This idea was stated by Chaucer (ca. 1386) in The Wife of Bath’s Tale, “Whoso first cometh to the mill, first grist,” and was cited as a proverb by Erasmus. An early reference with the exact modern wording dates from about 1545, in Henry Brinklow’s Complaynt of Roderick Mors. See also early bird catches the worm.
See also: first, serve
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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