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 conversations are early and the amount of inventory in play is small, according to people familiar with the matter. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "TV Networks Creating Targeted-Ad Capabilities," 13 May 2019 And this was too early in the show to get rid of so many of the contestants. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Faces Backlash After the Comeback Stage Winner Advanced to the Top 13," 14 Nov. 2018 This means Easter can occur as early as March 22 and as late as April 25. Marie Milano, Country Living, "When Is Palm Sunday, and Why Does the Date Always Change?," 8 Mar. 2019 Our efforts, combined with those of countless other activists, paid off: In the 2018 midterms, early and absentee voting by 18- to 29-year-olds surged some 700 percent in Tennessee, 500 percent in Texas, and 200 percent in Florida. Allie Holloway, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Chadwick, Laura Dern, & Diane Kruger Fight for Gun Violence Prevention," 20 Feb. 2019 In the following days, further online reports suggested that the game was being sold early and relatively widely at certain Mexican retailers. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Nintendo struggles to contain massive Smash Bros. Ultimate leaks," 26 Nov. 2018 Literally, zero need to get to the pool early and secure your prime lounge chair position. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "This Might Be The Best Hotel Pool We've Ever Seen," 1 Oct. 2018 But if his initial confirmation hearing is any indicator, expect sparks to fly early and often Thursday. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh and Ford to testify in Senate hearing: Key players to watch," 28 Sep. 2018 Rambo notes that the icons are all early and unfinished, so don’t necessarily take them as a definite indication of what the new devices will look like. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Larger iPhone X Plus seemingly confirmed by leak in iOS 12 beta," 3 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some days now my mind is crystal clear, calm like a quiet ocean in the early morning. Alex Daly, Glamour, "This Is What It’s Like to Be Obsessed With Perfection," 13 May 2019 To avoid the peak hours of sun and heat, most experienced hikers set out in the early morning or late afternoon, Schimelpfenig says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "14 Essential Hiking Safety Tips You Should Always Follow," 10 May 2019 While there's not much information about what Steven was like as a child, there is some insight to Cary's early life. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "The True Story Behind Cary Stayner's Murders and His Brother Steven's Legacy," 25 Jan. 2019 Umbreen is Muslim, about to marry a Hindu man named Prem—a part of her grandmother's early life that Yaz had never suspected. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Doctor Who wraps a solid season with its first female Time Lord," 12 Dec. 2018 Having a safe space online made my early gay life a lot more bearable. German Lopez, Vox, "Video game addiction is real, rare, and poorly understood," 6 Dec. 2018 Last year, several startups with drugs in the earliest phase of clinical trials—and some with treatments still only in lab testing—listed on the Nasdaq to capitalize on the hot biotech market. Brian Gormley, WSJ, "Search for Buyout Targets Leads Public Investors to Biotech," 3 May 2019 Blood on the sand Oddly enough, Sonic isn’t the only one getting a full-scale overhaul based on early footage. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Razer is making a toaster, Sonic has human baby teeth," 3 May 2019 Digital records of his early shows are hard to find, and his vintage pieces have become precious commodities. Vogue, "A New Helmut Lang Archives Book Comes to New York With a Traveling Vintage Show," 1 May 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

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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