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

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 Heart disease is actually very treatable and, more importantly, preventable — if caught early. Abigail Higgins, Vox, "Heart disease used to be an ailment of the rich. But it’s now striking the world’s poor.," 15 Oct. 2018 Arrive to class early and introduce yourself to the teacher. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "New to Yoga? 12 Things to Know Before Taking Your First Class," 4 Jan. 2019 Hearteningly, though, one of VR’s early long shots may have actually paid off. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: AR and VR," 30 Dec. 2018 Arrive early and enjoy a specialty cocktail, like the Cape May Mule, or stay a while after your meal and have a nightcap on the front porch. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: Winter In Cape May, New Jersey," 10 Dec. 2018 Elizabeth's father began preparing her to be Queen early. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Inside Queen Elizabeth II's Remarkably Close Relationship With Her Father, King George VI," 5 Feb. 2019 Instead, Wanda was released five years early back in September 2018 and...believe it or not...has recently moved close to an elementary school in Utah. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper Just Moved Next To An Elementary School In Salt Lake City," 2 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Ginseng's popularity in Korean skin care, in particular, dates back to the early 1500s. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why You’re Seeing Ginseng in So Many Korean Skin-Care Products Right Now," 8 Mar. 2019 Stay tuned for an early look at one of the designer's projects from the show right here on HouseBeautiful.com. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About Queer Eye Season 3," 4 Mar. 2019 But sometimes the earlier, the better: Rick Seaney of FareCompare told USA Today that 3.5 months in advance is the most ideal window for summer, specifically. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Here's the Best Time to Book Your Summer Travel," 27 Feb. 2019 Breathing the air, and taking a pulse Taiwan has an air-quality problem, and the earlier the government knows how bad the air will be and where, the safer its residents will be. Dan Rosenbaum, Ars Technica, "All hail the AI overlord: Smart cities and the AI Internet of Things," 7 Dec. 2018 Eventually, as Christianity spread, the day was observed by other early churches in places such as Antioch, Rome, and Constantinople. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "What Is Good Friday and Why Do We Celebrate It?," 22 Feb. 2019 According to a new fossil discovery, early Tyrannosaurs were much smaller. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Meet This Tiny Ancestor of the Fearsome T. Rex," 21 Feb. 2019 Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.0 percent to 28,514.05 and the Shanghai Composite reversed early losses to gain 0.2 percent, finishing at 2,761.22. Elaine Kurtenbach, The Seattle Times, "World shares mostly higher on upbeat talk on China-US trade," 20 Feb. 2019 In particular, Princess Diana's choice to shake hands with AIDS patients was revolutionary in helping to fight the stigma of the disease in the early '90s. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Reason Meghan Markle Holds Her Gloves But Doesn't Actually Wear Them," 2 Feb. 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

11 Mar 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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