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of the first magnitude

Of major importance or significance. You have to study Shakespeare because he is a poet of the first magnitude. We need to close the highway immediately—this is an accident of the first magnitude.
See also: first, magnitude, of

of the highest magnitude

Of the greatest importance or significance or to the greatest degree or extent. You have to study Shakespeare because he is a poet of the highest magnitude. We need to close the highway immediately—this is an emergency of the highest magnitude.
See also: high, magnitude, of

first magnitude/order/water, of the

The best; of the highest quality. Magnitude refers to the grading of the brightness of stars, the first being the brightest. It has been transferred to other matters since at least the seventeenth century. “Thou liar of the first magnitude,” wrote William Congreve in 1695 (Love for Love, 2.2). Water refers to a system for grading diamonds for their color or luster (the latter being akin to the shininess of water), the best quality again being termed the first. This grading system is no longer used, but the transfer to other matters has survived since the early nineteenth century. Sir Walter Scott’s journal has, “He was a . . . swindler of the first water (1826). Order, which here refers to rank, is probably more often heard today than either of the others. It dates from the nineteenth century. The OED cites “A diplomatist of the first order,” appearing in a journal of 1895. A synonymous term, first rate, originated from the time the Royal Navy’s warships were rated on a scale of one to six, based on their size and the weight of the weapons they carried. By the 1700s this term, along with second-rate, third-rate, and so on, was later transferred to general use, most often as a hyphenated adjective. For example, “He’s definitely a second-rate poet, nowhere near as good as his father.”
See also: first, magnitude, of, order
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, aftershocks were recorded in Batanes on Saturday, exactly a week after the magnitudes 5.4 and 5.9 earthquakes jolted the province, according to Phivolcs.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Magnitude is a provider of enterprise information management software that delivers insights on business performance in heterogeneous application and fragmented data environments.
class="MsoNormalFor instance, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake releases approximately 30 times more energy than a magnitude 5.
Powerful earthquakes with magnitude more than five were also recorded at several places like Indonesia (4.9, 5.5, 5), Fiji (4.9, 5.7, 5.7), and Iran (4.8) as well in the past 24 hours.
The bulk of the cluster lay southward, where the dense central population numbered possibly two dozen stars, all of them beyond 12th magnitude. In total, I tallied 50 to 60 suns--hardly epic; still, the glittery package was attractive.
Advocate Kebonang said on April 8 still in the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve an earth quake of 4.6 magnitude was reported and that tremors were felt in most parts of the country.
* Aug 24, 2016 -- ITALY -- A 6.2 magnitude quake strikes a cluster of mountain communities 140 km (85 miles) east of Rome in central Italy, killing about 300 people.
With the established vulnerability relationships between source parameter and building damage, if we can estimate the earthquake's magnitude before the high-intensity shaking occurs, the seismic resilience of structures canbe obtained.
Once thought an impossibility, a statewide earthquake could result in 126 percent more property damage, increasing the risks from 1.6 million homes to more than 3.5 million for a magnitude 8.0 or higher earthquake along the fault.
When January 12, 2010 Fatalities 316,000 Magnitude 7.0
Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Strikes Near Japan's Honshu Island - USGS
The first 4.1 magnitude tremor struck at 12:01 pm (0901 GMT), some 47 kilometres (29 miles) north of the island of Crete, the observatory said.
Several earth tremors with magnitude 4.4-4.6 were recorded last night on the territory of Kazakhstan bordering with Kyrgyzstan.
An earthquake with a 4.3 magnitude on the Richter scale has been registered in Romania's region of Vrancea, some 380 km northeast of Bulgaria's capital Sofia.
It suffers from the three types of man-made seismicity changes identified in [2], namely detection changes, reporting changes, and magnitude shifts, these errors can also be distinguished into systematic and random ones and in 1995 this is comprehensively discussed in [3].