in the first place


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Related to in the first place: at first, to begin with, in the first instance

in the first place

1. From the outset; in or at the very beginning. You should have said you were feeling ill in the first place! I wouldn't have given you such a hard time if I'd known. I never would have bought this car in the first place if I'd known there weren't airbags.
2. As the first of a given set of points (e.g., in an argument). Why am I quitting? Well, in the first place, I haven't been paid for overtime in nearly a year, and I just don't feel valued as an employee in general.
See also: first, place

in the first place

1. From the beginning, at the outset, before anything else. For example, Why didn't you tell me in the first place that you've decided to leave? or He could have bought a new one in the first place.
2. As the first of several items in order of importance. This phrase is usually accompanied by in the second place, third place, and so on, as in I'm not joining the health club because, in the first place, I don't like their hours, and in the second place, I can't afford the dues . [First half of 1600s] Also see for one.
See also: first, place

in the ˈfirst place


1 used at the beginning of a sentence to introduce the different points you are making in an argument: In the first place it’s not your car, and in the second you’re not old enough to drive it. Is that clear?
2 used at the end of a sentence to talk about why something was done or whether it should have been done or not: I should never have taken that job in the first place.
See also: first, place