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In Tegan and Sara's song BWU there's a line:

Save your first and last born for me

Here born is obviously used as a noun, but what are the artists trying to convey by using the word this way? Neither me nor Google knows of any common meanings of born when it is used as a noun.

Please, look up the lyrics if you need more context, as I don't think it appropriate to post them here in full.

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  • Did you try searching for the "first born"? The answer is in a dictionary.
    – Victor B.
    Jul 24, 2016 at 20:26
  • Can't blame me, first born is commonly written as one word. Anyway, I would appreciate it if you posted an answer elaborating just a bit, and I would mark it as accepted even if somebody posts an analogous answer (as you've already essentially given the answer as a comment). Jul 24, 2016 at 20:29
  • @MichaelSmith See link Jul 24, 2016 at 20:48

1 Answer 1

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First born, usually written as the single word firstborn, is an English term for the eldest child. The usage here, though, separates the components of that word for poetic effect.

Born is the participle of the verb to bear, used here in the sense of "to give birth to." The participle is used here as an adjective in what is sometimes called "omission of the qualified." In this case, the noun qualified by "first born," and omitted, is "child."

You will see born used in this way in many English expressions, such as:

  • Native born
  • Stillborn

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