Definition of first class in US English:

first class

noun

  • 1A set of people or things grouped together as the best.

    post, letters, packages, parcels, correspondence, communications, airmail
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    1. 1.1 The best and most expensive seating or accommodations in a plane, train, or ship.
      ‘a seat in first class’
      best, pick, cream, flower, nonpareil, elect
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    2. 1.2British The highest division in the results of the examinations for a university degree.
      • ‘The children of Ballou deserve a chance at the first-class quality of education Whitman students receive.’
      • ‘It so happens we have three first-class stadia in Glasgow and a lot of matches will take place there.’
      • ‘His selection was proved to be first-class when, after just three minutes Simon landed a penalty from halfway and a quarter of an hour later did the same again.’
      • ‘They all demonstrated to me that high-quality, robust software was running on first-class hardware.’
      • ‘The sample that I inspected showed superb quality walnut stock and hand guards, first-class metal finish and flawless functioning.’
      • ‘The cricket facilities were superior to what most first-class grounds produce in New Zealand.’
      • ‘But where can you go to find sublime destinations and premier lodging when you really want to go first-class?’
      • ‘It was a first-class test of analysis, selection and integration which demonstrated a student's ability to think clearly before making a judgment.’
      • ‘Indeed, if these plans do go ahead, they could put Swindon on the sporting map providing first-class facilities for elite and grass roots-level athletes in a number of sports.’
      • ‘Excellent customer service backed by first-class technology will be our prime area of focus during this year.’
      • ‘Its top-notch dining, elegantly restored 1920s-era grandeur, and first-class service earn raves from business travelers.’
      • ‘Although the 1st Infantry Division was a first-class unit, it did suffer the occasional bad officer.’
      • ‘One of the driving forces behind Advancing Together, the region's strategic framework, is the need to provide a first-class quality of life for everyone and be intolerant of discrimination.’
      • ‘Editor John McLellan has worked exceptionally hard to make his a first-class evening newspaper.’
      • ‘It's always a pleasure to try fruit driven wines, produced from local grapes which have been enhanced by careful selection, skillful blending and first-class wine-making skills.’
      • ‘We have a superior range of products to offer and first-class financial advice to go with them.’
      superior, first-rate, high-quality, top-quality, top, top-tier, quality, high-grade, five-star, fine
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adverb & adjective

  • 1Of the best quality.

    as adjective ‘a full-scale grand opera needs a first-class orchestra’
    • ‘He's incredibly patriotic and he believes in what he's doing and he's a first class reporter.’
    • ‘He knows exactly what qualities it takes to craft a first class carry rig and he builds this quality into each and every holster.’
    • ‘Waterford, in particular, has a first class reputation for the quality of these products.’
    • ‘We will get out a first class evening news broadcast this evening.’
    • ‘The interior of the car is slightly on the minimalist side, Honda rightly deciding to concentrate on the car's dynamic qualities which are first class.’
    • ‘Most clubs the length and breadth of the county are featured and the quality of the book is first class.’
    • ‘It's still absolutely first class fantasy writing.’
    • ‘You'll find it a little busier than the Greek islands, but on the plus side the back up and support is first class.’
    • ‘I think he was a first class president, and I treasured my relationship and association with him.’
    • ‘The shipping, delivery quality of the case and packing are first class.’
    • ‘Their friendly sales staffs are on hand to give valuable assistance for confidence that you are getting first class quality Volvo car parts.’
    • ‘As you would expect, build quality is first class, with not a rattle or squeak anywhere.’
    • ‘Shopping at markets is one of the real pleasures of living in France for a short time; choice and quality are first class.’
    • ‘Timothy is a first class writer and thinker, and a really good guy too.’
    • ‘It is this blend of skills that makes him a first class satirist in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, wielding his savage wit in the service of passionate conviction.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to the best seating or accommodations in a train, ship, or plane.
      as adjective ‘first-class air transportation’
      as adverb ‘you can travel first class on any train’
      • ‘Sam's brother Valentine had a more orthodox career as a soldier, until the day he boarded a first-class railway carriage to travel from Liphook to Waterloo Station.’
      • ‘One does not sit in a first-class coach if the train ticket is for a second-class seat.’
      • ‘In 2000 he began the Scottish phase of his career by boarding the first-class carriage of a Virgin train headed for Edinburgh.’
      • ‘Posing as a QC, he boarded the first-class carriage of an Edinburgh-bound Virgin train and complained his wallet and laptop had been stolen.’
      • ‘I was really conscious that Dad would be sitting in a first-class carriage we hadn't paid for, dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, while everyone else was in sharp suits.’
      • ‘We had arrived in the morning by a first-class - only train - Abela - from Cairo.’
      • ‘Granted, it was the first-class carriage and there had been a slight problem in buying postcards before the journey.’
      • ‘At Rugby the attention of the station officials was drawn to the fact that the door of one of the first-class carriages was open.’
      • ‘It was laid out in the style of a first-class train carriage.’
      • ‘Increased usage of first-class carriages by black people at a time when some suburbs were being Afrikanerized irked Nationalists, who decided to bring Cape Town into line.’
      • ‘He now says he wants to set up a regular service with first-class Pullman carriages only, running from Blackpool to Scarborough.’
      • ‘The teak-bodied carriage has two first-class compartments - one for smokers and the other for non-smokers - and two toilets.’
      • ‘Dickens's was the only one of seven first-class carriages not to fall off the viaduct.’
      • ‘I was in the next first-class carriage behind them, sprawled in the nearly-empty car on the plush red seats.’
      • ‘The flights will be on Boeing 757 aircraft configured with 24 first-class seats and 158 seats in coach.’
      • ‘Many of those trapped and injured were in the front first-class carriage, which took the brunt of the impact.’
      • ‘He smoothed his hand across the glass of his first-class carriage window.’
      expert, skilled, skilful, masterly, virtuoso, master, consummate, proficient, talented, gifted, adept, adroit, deft, dexterous, able, good, competent, capable, efficient, experienced, seasoned, trained, practised, professional, polished, well versed, versed, smart, clever, ingenious, ready, apt, handy, artful
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    2. 1.2 Relating to a class of mail given priority.
      as adjective ‘first-class mail’
      as adverb ‘send it first class’
      • ‘Compensation of up to 100 times the cost of a first-class stamp would be payable for lost or damaged mail, meaning that customers could receive up to £27.’
      • ‘The Royal Mail said 93.2 per cent of first-class letters were delivered on time in June this year, the highest figure since the summer of 1998.’
      • ‘Consequently, many U.S. taxpayers mail tax documents and payments through first-class mail service.’
      • ‘Ballots for Council elections and for the election of officers shall be mailed by first-class mail.’
      • ‘The company will produce the election packet and send it by first-class mail to all union members.’
      • ‘The first-class stamp is part of a series printed by Royal Mail to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Society for the Arts.’
      • ‘If we see any evidence of first-class mail being treated as second class we will take it very seriously, investigate and take all necessary action.’
      • ‘By comparison, sending a magazine by first-class mail with no subsidy would cost over $1.’
      • ‘So-called standard mail - advertisements, catalogs, and circulars - is approaching the volume of first-class mail.’
      • ‘The average household gets 24 pieces of first-class mail every week, so almost 5 of these every week arrive late.’
      • ‘The print material is sent via first-class mail the same day the video is sent via third-class mail.’
      • ‘A postal survey carried out by the Evening Advertiser has shown that most first-class mail sent out from Swindon reaches its destination on time.’
      • ‘Postal bosses have been set a minimum national target of 92.5 per cent of first-class mail being delivered the next working day.’
      • ‘Anything mailed by something other than first-class or without a ‘please forward’ was just tossed.’
      • ‘The Royal Mail apologised and sent her a book of 12 first-class stamps, but the letter of apology was accompanied by her next-door neighbour's post delivered by mistake.’
      • ‘The mailing was sent via first-class mail on April 11, 2001.’
      • ‘‘We know we have less first-class mail volume,’ says spokesperson Don Smeraldi.’
    3. 1.3British as adjective Relating to the highest division in a university examination.
      ‘a first-class honors degree’
      • ‘To get involved you have to have a first-class degree and be entered by your university lecturer.’
      • ‘At the University of Sydney he carried off prizes, graduated with first-class honours in classics, and played cricket with enthusiasm.’
      • ‘The pair, who live in Sunnybank, Bury, both juggled part-time study and full-time work to achieve their first-class masters degrees from the University of Salford’
      • ‘Some students, he says, begin the course thinking of themselves as not very academic, but develop an interest, and come out with first-class degrees.’
      • ‘Congratulations to Owen Horgan who graduated with a first-class honours degree in Engineering at UCC.’
      • ‘Her four A's would be followed by a first-class honours degree from Loughborough College and though she would not allow running to lower her grades, she knew what she wanted.’
      • ‘Born in Aberdeen, he studied medicine at Aberdeen University, where he took first-class honours in 1888.’
      • ‘Graham gained a place at Oxford University to study law where he was awarded a first-class degree.’
      • ‘He spoke four languages and had a first-class degree from the University of London.’
      • ‘Morgan returned to Glasgow University in 1946 and graduated with first-class honours in English Language and Literature in 1947.’
      • ‘Iza has never gone beyond second place in class and also obtained a first-class pass in her final examination.’
      gifted, talented, virtuoso, genius, accomplished, ingenious, masterly, inventive, creative
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Pronunciation

first class

/ˈˌfərs(t) ˈklæs//ˈˌfərs(t) ˈklas/