1. [ adjective ] at or near the beginning of a period of time or course of events or before the usual or expected time

"early morning" "an early warning" "early diagnosis" "an early death" "took early retirement" "an early spring" "early varieties of tomatoes"

Related terms: late middle aboriginal earlier proto matutinal previous premature proterozoic azoic archeozoic wee earlyish archean advance first timing
2. [ adjective ] being or occurring at an early stage of development

"in an early stage" "early forms of life" "early man" "an early computer

Related terms: late crude beginning baby archaic embryo precocious incipient
3. [ adverb ] during an early stage
Synonyms: early_on

"early on in her career"

4. [ adjective ] of the distant past
Synonyms: other former

"the early inhabitants of Europe" "former generations" "in other times"

Related terms: past
5. [ adjective ] very young

"at an early age"

Related terms: young
6. [ adverb ] before the usual time or the time expected
Synonyms: too_soon ahead_of_time

"she graduated early" "the house was completed ahead of time"

Related terms: late
7. [ adjective ] (linguistics) of an early stage in the development of a language or literature

"the Early Hebrew alphabetical script is used mainly from the 11th to the 6th centuries B.C." "Early Modern English is represented in documents printed from 1476 to 1700"

Related terms: late middle linguistics Old
8. [ adverb ] in good time
Synonyms: betimes

"he awoke betimes that morning"

9. [ noun ] Last name, frequency rank in the U.S. is 1994
10. [ adjective ] expected in the near future

"look for an early end to the negotiations"

Related terms: future
Similar spelling:   earl