in the --- place

in the --- place
{adv. phr.} As the (first or second or third, etc.) thing in order or importance; first, second, or third, etc. - Used with "first", "second", "third", and other ordinal numbers. * /No, you cannot go swimming. In the first place, the water is too cold; and, in the second place, there is not time enough before dinner./ * /Stealing is wrong, in the first place, because it hurts others, and, in the second place, because it hurts you./ Compare: FOR ONE THING.

Dictionary of American idioms. 2013.

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