in the first place and in the first instance

in the first instance

First, before any subsequent actions. In the first instance, tell your boss you're sick and then call and make an appointment with your doctor.
See also: 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

in the first place and in the first instance

initially; to begin with. In the first place, you don't have enough money to buy one. In the second place, you don't need one. In the first instance, I don't have the time. In the second place, I'm not interested.
See also: and, first, instance, place
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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