I. adverb (earlier; -est) Etymology: Middle English erly, from Old English ǣrlīce, from ǣr early, soon — more at ere Date: before 12th century 1. a. near the beginning of a period of time <
awoke early in the morning
b. near the beginning of a course, process, or series <
early in his senatorial career
2. a. before the usual or expected time <
the train arrived early
b. archaic soon c. sooner than related forms <
these apples bear early
II. adjective (earlier; -est) Date: 13th century 1. a. of, relating to, or occurring near the beginning of a period of time, a development, or a series <
in the early evening
the early symptoms of the disease
b. (1) distant in past time (2) primitive <
early tools
2. a. occurring before the usual or expected time <
an early arrival
b. occurring in the near future <
at your earliest convenience
c. maturing or producing sooner than related forms <
an early peach
earliness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Early — Ear ly, a. [Compar. {Earlier} ([ e]r l[i^]*[ e]r); superl. {Earliest}.] [OE. earlich. [root]204. See {Early}, adv.] 1. In advance of the usual or appointed time; in good season; prior in time; among or near the first; opposed to {late}; as, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Early — Ear ly ([ e]r l[y^]), adv. [OE. erli, erliche, AS. [=ae]rl[=i]ce; [=ae]r sooner + l[=i]c like. See {Ere}, and {Like}.] Soon; in good season; seasonably; betimes; as, come early. [1913 Webster] Those that me early shall find me. Prov. viii. 17.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Early — (spr. Ärlih), Grafschaft im Staate Georgia (Nordamerika), 40 QM.; Flüsse: Chattahoochee, Spring u. Colamoka Creeks; Boden eben u. fruchtbar, mit schönen Waldungen; Producte: Baumwolle, Mais u. Bataten; Dampfschifffahrt auf dem Chattahoochee;… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • early — index initial, instant, obsolete, old, preliminary, preparatory, previous, prime (original) …   Law dictionary

  • early — UK US /ˈɜːli/ adjective (earlier, earliest) ● at your earliest convenience Cf. at your earliest convenience …   Financial and business terms

  • early — earliness, n. /err lee/, adv., earlier, earliest, adj., earlier, earliest, n., pl. earlies. adv. 1. in or during the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.: early in the year. 2. in the early part of the… …   Universalium

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  • early — 1. adjective /ˈɜː(ɹ).li,ˈɝli/ a) At a time in advance of the usual or expected event. At eleven, we went for an early lunch. b) Arriving a time before expected; sooner than on time. She began reading at an early age …   Wiktionary

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