early

adverb
ear·​ly | \ ˈər-lē How to pronounce early (audio) \
earlier; earliest

Definition of early

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2a : before the usual or expected time the train arrived early
b archaic : soon
c : sooner than related forms these apples bear early

early

adjective
earlier; earliest

Definition of early (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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
2a : 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

Early

biographical name
Ear·​ly | \ ˈər-lē How to pronounce Early (audio) \

Definition of Early (Entry 3 of 3)

Ju*bal \ ˈjü-​bəl How to pronounce ˈjü-bəl (audio)\ Anderson 1816–1894 American Confederate general

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Other Words from early

Adjective

earliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for early

Synonyms: Adverb

beforehand, inopportunely, precociously, prematurely, unseasonably

Synonyms: Adjective

ancient, primal, primeval, primitive, primordial

Antonyms: Adverb

belatedly, late, tardily

Antonyms: Adjective

late

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Examples of early in a Sentence

Adverb

Early in his career he moved to the city. a word first recorded early in the 17th century They were trailing by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The package should be arriving early next week. She arrived early to help with the preparations. I got up early to finish packing.

Adjective

the early symptoms of the disease The early part of the book is better than the later part. We had an early spring this year. We're early. The show doesn't start for half an hour. I've always been an early riser.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The chronology, which takes nine-tenths of a mile to unfold, highlights the region’s geological formation, natural habitats, Bedouin culture, and early coastal settlements and their pearl trade. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, "ED First Look: The National Museum of Qatar," 26 Mar. 2019 Dee Dee Blanchard began diagnosing Gypsy Rose as early as three months old. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "How True Is 'The Act'? The Hulu Series' Backstory Is Chilling," 20 Mar. 2019 In fact, the ancient Egyptians reportedly used oils in cosmetics as early as 4500 B.C.E. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "What You Should Know Before Using a Trendy New Face Oil," 13 Mar. 2019 As Vox pointed out, mentions and references to Trump continue to increase in probe documents as early as July 2018. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "The Russia Investigation Is Almost Over. Here's What You Need to Know," 8 Dec. 2018 All Nippon Airways operator ANA Holdings and trading house Marubeni will set up a spaceport in Japan as early as 2021, Nikkei reports. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Russia’s nuclear rocket, airspace wars, BFR changes explained," 30 Nov. 2018 Trump upped the stakes on Tuesday by moving forward with plans to impose further tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, which could take effect as early as next month. Saleha Mohsin, BostonGlobe.com, "US, China may talk amid escalating trade threats," 13 July 2018 Several indigenous tribes of North America carry long traditions of tattooing—English explorers were noting tattoos as early as the 1500s. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The United States' Oldest Tattoo Needle Is an Inked-Up Cactus Spine," 28 Feb. 2019 The two started appearing in each other's Instagrams as early as 2013, when Jordyn posted a pic of the two of them celebrating Christmas together. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Kylie Jenner and Jordyn Woods' Friendship," 21 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

According to Hawking’s hypothesis, black holes could have formed in the early stages of the universe long before the first stars formed. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Rule Out Hawking Theory for Source of Dark Matter," 4 Apr. 2019 Japan’s government drew from a nearly 1,300-year-old poem, one of the earliest in the Japanese language, in choosing the name of the new era starting May 1 when Crown Prince Naruhitoassumes the throne. Peter Landers, WSJ, "Japan Chooses Reiwa as Era Name for Next Emperor," 1 Apr. 2019 The Carrie and Me adaptation is still in its early stages, but Fey and Burnett are among a small team working to realize the project. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Tina Fey and Carol Burnett Are Working on a Movie Based on Burnett's Memoir Carrie and Me," 27 Mar. 2019 One early photo shows the artist in full Communion regalia, complete with white dress, veil, clasped hands in prayer, and a demure smile undermined by a pair of mischievous eyes. Lillian Dondero, ELLE Decor, "Fashionably Late: An Editor's Take on the Frida Kahlo Exhibit in Brooklyn," 27 Mar. 2019 If it had been designated a prerelease build, that would indicate the OS was still in an earlier stage, where Microsoft floats new features for insider feedback before putting more work into them. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Windows 10's April 2019 Update should be as straightforward as its name," 25 Jan. 2019 Intel confirmed Wednesday that a mobile version of its 9th-gen H-series Core chips will debut during the second quarter—and probably on the early side of that time window. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel promises 9th-gen mobile Core processors will arrive 'very, very soon'," 20 Mar. 2019 For example, the earliest parade in the world, attended by townsfolk and tourist alike, famously kicks off in Dingle, Ireland, just before sun up. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "Here's the Real History of St Patrick's Day," 15 Mar. 2019 The fossil, dated to the early Triassic Period around 250 million years ago, represents a much different time in the history of Antarctica. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Found in the Cold Mountains of Antarctica: A Warm Weather Lizard Fossil," 31 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'early.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of early

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for early

Adverb

Middle English erly, from Old English ǣrlīce, from ǣr early, soon — more at ere

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Statistics for early

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for early

The first known use of early was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for early

early

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of early

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: at or near the beginning of a period of time or a process, activity, series, etc.
: before the usual or expected time

early

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of early (Entry 2 of 2)

: existing or happening near the beginning of a period of time
: happening near the beginning of a process, activity, series, etc.
: coming or happening before the usual or expected time

early

adverb
ear·​ly | \ ˈər-lē How to pronounce early (audio) \
earlier; earliest

Kids Definition of early

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : at or near the beginning of a period of time woke up early early in my career
2 : before the usual or expected time arrived early

early

adjective
earlier; earliest

Kids Definition of early (Entry 2 of 2)

: occurring near the beginning or before the usual time early morning

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More from Merriam-Webster on early

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with early

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for early

Spanish Central: Translation of early

Nglish: Translation of early for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of early for Arabic Speakers

Comments on early

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