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A.Word.A.Day--first water

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: ordinal words.

first water (furst WA-tuhr) 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.]

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

-Anu Garg (garg wordsmith.org)

"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.

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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