American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Of or occurring near the beginning of a given series, period of time, or course of events: in the early morning; scored two runs in the early innings.
- adj. Of or belonging to a previous or remote period of time: the early inhabitants of the British Isles.
- adj. Of or belonging to an initial stage of development: an early form of life; an early computer.
- adj. Occurring, developing, or appearing before the expected or usual time: an early spring; an early retirement.
- adj. Maturing or developing relatively soon: an early variety of tomato.
- adj. Occurring in the near future: Observers predicted an early end to the negotiations.
- adv. Near the beginning of a given series, period of time, or course of events: departed early in the day; scored important victories early in the campaign.
- adv. At or near the beginning of the morning: She never used to get up so early.
- adv. At or during a remote or initial period: decided very early to go into medicine.
- adv. Before the expected or usual time: arrived at the meeting a few minutes early.
- adv. Soon in relation to others of its kind: a rose that was cultivated to bloom early.
- idiom. early on At an early stage or point: "Early on, [he] found that being honest and being funny were almost the same thing” ( Maureen Orth).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Near the initial point of some reckoning in time; in or during the first part or period of some division of time, or of some course or procedure: as, come early; early in the day, or in the century; early in his career.
- Synonyms Early, Soon, Betimes. Early is relative, and notes occurrence before some fixed or usual time, or before the course of time had far advanced beyond that point: as, he rose early (that is, he rose before the usual time of rising, or before the day had advanced far); he came early in the evening (that is, before the evening was far advanced); while in “come early” the meaning may be only “do not be late in your coming, or do not delay your coming beyond the set or accustomed time.” Soon means shortly, or in a short time after the present or some fixed point of time: as, come soon; he left soon after my arrival. Betimes (by time) means in good time for some specific object or all useful purposes: as, he rose betimes.
- Pertaining to the first part or period of some division of time, or of some course in time; being at or near the beginning of the portion of time indicated or concerned: as, an early hour; early manhood; the early times of the church.
- Appearing or occurring in advance of, or at or near the beginning of, some appointed, usual, or well-understood date, epoch, season, or event; being before the usual time: as, an early riser; early fruit; early (that is, premature) decay; early marriage.
- Occurring in the near future: as, I shall take an early opportunity of calling on you; the petitioners asked that a meeting be called at an early date.
- In embryology, very young; very recently formed: as, an early embryo.
- adj. At a time in advance of the usual or expected event.
- adj. Arriving a time before expected; sooner than on-time.
- adj. Near the start or beginning.
- adv. At a time before expected; sooner than usual.
- n. A shift (scheduled work period) that takes place early in the day.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adv. Soon; in good season; seasonably; betimes.
- adj. In advance of the usual or appointed time; in good season; prior in time; among or near the first; -- opposed to
- adj. Coming in the first part of a period of time, or among the first of successive acts, events, etc.
- adv. before the usual time or the time expected
- adj. of an early stage in the development of a language or literature
- adv. in good time
- adj. belonging to the distant past
- adj. being or occurring at an early stage of development
- adv. during an early stage
- adj. very young
- adj. at or near the beginning of a period of time or course of events or before the usual or expected time
- adj. expected in the near future
- From Middle English erly, erli, Old English ǣrlīce, from ǣr ("before") + adverbial suffix -līce. Cognate with Old Norse árla ( > Danish and Norwegian årle, Swedish arla) (Wiktionary)
- Middle English erli, from Old English ǣrlīce : ǣr, before; see ayer- in Indo-European roots + -līce, adv. suff.; see -ly2. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Thirty-five perished at an indefinitely early date; hence it follows that Zonaras has only Books One to Twenty-one at hand to use for his account of _early_ Rome; besides these he has later employed Books”
Dio's Rome, Volume 1 (of 6) An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek during the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus: and Now Presented in English Form
“Ah, how many of those that heard the early ones are laid in their graves; and how many of them were laid in _early_ graves; and how many of them said, as some of you are saying, 'When I get older I will turn religious'!”
“They soon discovered, that to rise early, they must _go to bed early_; and thus was this most important object secured, with regard to girls as well as boys.”
Advice to Young Men And (Incidentally) to Young Women in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life. In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Father, a Citizen, or a Subject.
“Twice in the past year, Mr. Papandreou has flirted with ending his term early because of public discontent with his austerity policies.”
“The term early menopause also refers to women who experience menopause naturally but earlier than usual generally before the age of forty.”
“Mike Farrell, the actor and dedicated humanitarian activist, added his name early on.”
“The Duke of Hereford, whom the king had banished, and who, on the death of his father "time honoured Lancaster," succeeded to the title early in 1399, was prevailed upon to return to”
“But Henry Brooke, eighth lord Cobham, who succeeded to the title early in 1597, and claimed descent from the historical Sir John Oldcastle, the Lollard leader, raised objection; and when the first part of the play was printed by the acting-company's authority in 1598 ( 'newly corrected' in 1599),”
“Inextricably bonded to Lewis, the MDA invoked his name early and often as it sought to raise at least $1 more than the $58.9 million raised last year for neuromuscular research, clinics and summer camp for youngsters known as "Jerry's Kids.”
“Mr Watson said fixed-rate home loans were now below variable rates and locked in stability, but he warned some carried significant penalties for breaking the term early.”
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