See also: first rate

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first-rate (not comparable)

  1. (UK, military, nautical, historical) Of a Royal Navy ship of the line in the Napoleonic Era: having at least 100 guns across three gun decks, a complement of 850–875, and weighing approximately 2,500 tons burthen.
  2. (idiomatic) Superb, exceptional; of the best sort; very high quality.
    • 1867, Matthew Arnold, On the Study of Celtic Literature:
      Our only first-rate body of contemporary poetry is the German.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC, page 2:
      He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him. I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me.
    • 1960, John Updike, 'Rabbit, Run', page 92:
      "I once did something right. I played first-rate basketball. I really did. And after you're first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate."

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Noun edit

first-rate (plural first-rates)

  1. (UK, military, nautical, historical) A first-rate ship of the line.

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