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Nov 3, 2006
This week's theme
Ordinal words

This week's words
fifth column
fourth estate
third degree
second fiddle
first water

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

first water

(furst WA-tuhr) Pronunciation Sound Clip

noun:
1. The highest degree of quality in a precious stone, especially a diamond.
2. The best grade or quality.

[Transparency is highly desirable in diamonds, and when they are nearly as transparent as water, they are known as diamonds of the first water. As the transparency decreases, we get second or third water. Hence figuratively, something or someone of the first water is first grade, first class, or of the best in its class.]

"In a too-rare appearance with the San Antonio Symphony on Friday, pianist Horacio Gutierrez proved once again to be a romanticist of the first water."
Pianist Delivers a Top-flight Show; San Antonio Express-News; Mar 23, 2003.

See more usage examples of first water in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

X-Bonus

Whenever people say 'We mustn't be sentimental,' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add 'We must be realistic,' they mean they are going to make money out of it. -Brigid Brophy, writer (1929-1995)

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