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first things first

  1. Let's deal with matters of highest priority first; let's deal with matters in logical sequence.
    • 1830, Christian Observer, On Prophetic Speculation:
      There is a sound common-sense maxim, frequently heard among the wise and prudent of this world—First things first, []
    • 1922, H. G. Wells, chapter 4, in The Secret Places of the Heart:
      First things first,” said Sir Richmond. “If we set about getting fuel sanely, if we do it as the deliberate, co-operative act of the whole species, then it follows that we shall look very closely into the use that is being made of it.”
    • 1999 July 23, Frank Pellegrini, “House Republicans Quell Mutiny Over Tax Bounty”, in Time[1]:
      Judging by the polls—which still favor Clinton and his mantra of “first things first” (Medicare and education)—the public senses it too.
    • 2007 October 21, Jenni Muir, “Essentials for a wannabe chef—sugar, cream, mouse”, in Sunday Times[2], UK:
      First things first, you need the right tools.

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