early

adverb
ear·​ly | \ˈər-lē \
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 \

Definition of Early (Entry 3 of 3)

Ju*bal \ˈjü-​bəl \ 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

Mongolia has always been a leader with the technology, accepting What3Words addresses for mail delivery as early as 2016. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "You'll Need a Reindeer to Get to This Airbnb in Mongolia," 19 Nov. 2018 According to a paper published in 2016 in the journal PNAS, Iron Gates hunter-gatherers were eating domesticated wheat and barley as early as 8,600 years ago, more than 400 years before the Anatolian farmers arrived. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 In some parts of the country—including one area of southern New Jersey—kids must be off the streets as early as 7 p.m., according to 6 ABC. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "What Time Does Trick-or-Treating Start?," 19 Oct. 2018 Those are defects that occur early in pregnancy when the neural tube that forms the spine and brain fails to close properly. Jonel Aleccia, The Seattle Times, "FDA allows food makers to fortify corn masa to halt birth defects, but few do," 16 Oct. 2018 His death comes on the cusp of Stratolaunch's most crucial moment, with its enormous Stratolaunch rocket-carrying plane scheduled for its maiden flight as early as the end of 2018. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Paul Allen, Microsoft and Stratolaunch Co-Founder, Dead at 65," 15 Oct. 2018 For Prince Louis' birth this spring, spots for photographers and writers were set up as early as April 9, even though the young prince didn't actually make an appearance until April 23. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About the Royal-Approved Maternity Ward, The Lindo Wing," 15 Oct. 2018 The theme is the one piece of the puzzle that Wegley and her team start ruminating on as early as a year in advance. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Dallas Arboretum Uses 100,000 Pumpkins to Build Its Annual Fall Village," 12 Oct. 2018 The BBD Digital Capital Group would locate in West Hartford as early as September, according to Wu. Rebecca Lurye, courant.com, "How Seven Stars Cloud Plans To Spend $283M In West Hartford," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This is, indeed, what’s happening right now as candidates meet with donors and activists in early primary and caucus states. Seth Masket, Vox, "Democrats in 2020 don’t have the Republican safety margin," 29 Nov. 2018 Shortly after, her husband heard a radio program about a new treatment regimen devised by physician Dale Bredesen that seemed to reverse early stage Alzheimer’s. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 Warren has also designated staff to help candidates in the early states, including former staffers now working for state parties in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Juana Summers, The Seattle Times, "2020 Democrats building ties to power brokers in key states," 15 Oct. 2018 Correction: An earlier version of this piece misstated the details of Maryland’s same-day voter registration initiative. Lee Drutman, Vox, "One big winner last night: political reform," 7 Nov. 2018 Reuters cited what appeared to be an earlier version of the Facebook post, claiming that the tip came from the FBI itself. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "On eve of US elections, Facebook pulls down 115 “inauthentic” accounts," 6 Nov. 2018 Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Khandelwal’s confirmation hearing could be moved to Nov. 12. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Despite critical audit, county likely to name new head of public-defense department," 5 Nov. 2018 Not every state allows early voting, but if yours does, then do it! Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "7 Last-Minute Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in the Midterm Elections," 2 Nov. 2018 But there is scant evidence that those earlier farmers interacted with local hunter-gatherers. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018

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

2 Dec 2018

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 \
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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