from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun [Usually in the plural.] The earliest productions of the soil; the first gatherings of a season's produce. Of these the Jews made an offering to God, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion.
  • noun The first profits of anything; in feudal and ecclesiastical law, the first year's profit of a tenant of real property. The first-fruits of a benefice were payable in the Church of Rome to the pope, in the Church of England formerly to the crown, but since the time of Queen Anne, when paid at all, to a benevolent fund. See Queen Anne's bounty, under bounty.
  • noun The first portion, products, effects, or results of anything.
  • Original; earliest.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • And now without servility or any insincerity whatever, as if it were a first-fruit of the Change, I found myself in the presence of a human being towards whom I perceived myself inferior and subordinate, before whom I stood without servility or any insincerity whatever, in an attitude of respect and attention.

    In the Days of the Comet Herbert George 2006

  • It was pure bliss to him to bring us the first-fruit of the garden, it was like laying it on an altar.

    Twilight in Italy 2003

  • Spanish friar Bartolomé de las Casas wrote in the sixteenth century about how the Taino placed annual first-fruit offerings in caneys.

    Beachfront Bonanza 2002

  • We have found the bride making a glad discovery of a KING — her KING — and not a cross, as she expected; this is the first-fruit of her consecration.

    Union and Communion 1832-1905 2000

  • God hath reconciled all, and gathered all as the first-fruit and spirit of the whole into one head; that is, into Christ.

    The Sermons of John Owen 1616-1683 1968

  • Standing, as it were, historically between Mycenae and Athens, and artistically between temple and hippodrome, the Theban Pindar in life was awarded the right to an equal share of first-fruit offer - ings by the Pythian priestess of Delphi, and after death, heroization, his ghost being invited annually to dine with Apollo (Gilbert Norwood, Pindar [1945]).

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas TOM TASHIRO 1968

  • "I present to you the latest addition to my army, Mr. Oliver Wheatman of the Hanyards, the first-fruit, I am convinced, of a rich harvest from the gentry of his shire."

    The Yeoman Adventurer George W. Gough

  • Jean, and Mana the slave-girl, Iye the twin-mother of Susie, Akom the first-fruit of Ekenge, and Esien the teacher at Itu, were baptized, and sat down at the communion-table.

    Mary Slessor of Calabar: Pioneer Missionary W. P. Livingstone

  • Lammas Day falls on the first day of August, and was in Saxon times the Feast of First-fruits; sometimes a loaf of bread was given to the priest in lieu of first-fruit.

    From John O'Groats to Land's End Robert Naylor

  • The first-fruit of your brain has been -- ah -- plucked by others, who toiled not neither did they spin.

    Tales of St. Austin's 1928


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