in\ the\ first\ place

in\ the\ first\ place
adv. phr.
1. Before now; in the beginning; first.

You already ate breakfast! Why didn't you tell me that in the first place instead of saying you didn't want to eat?

Carl patched his old football but it soon leaked again. He should have bought a new one in the first place.

2. See: in the --- place
••
first of all; for a start; as a first step; before anything else is said or done; in the first instance; to start with; to begin with; first and foremost

Словарь американских идиом. — СПб., Изд-во "Лань". . 1997.

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