early on


Definition of early on

: at or during an early point or stage the reasons were obvious early on in the experiment

Keep scrolling for more

Using Early on: Usage Guide

This adverb is sometimes objected to in American writing as an obtrusive Briticism. It is a relative newcomer to the language, having arisen in British English around 1928. It seems to have filled a need, however. It came into frequent use in American English in the late 1960s and is now well established on both sides of the Atlantic in both speech and writing.

Examples of early on in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

On the flip side, Jay Z seized his narrative early on in his career and this week Forbes named him the first hip-hop artist to create a billion dollar fortune. Elizabeth Wellington, https://www.inquirer.com, "Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama’s portrait, designs a mural that turns a Philly teen into her own inspiration | Elizabeth Wellington," 5 June 2019 Theo, the aforementioned teen whose mother dies early on in the story during a terrorist incident at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be played by Ansel Elgort, seen here on-set with a cigarette in his mouth. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Everything We Know So Far About The Goldfinch," 29 May 2019 Some fans took this as a sign Arya and Sansa die early on in the season and Jon Snow is the only one who survives once everything concludes. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "A Major Game of Thrones Theory About Jon Snow Just Got Debunked," 24 Jan. 2019 But rather than linger over dinner and speeches, the meal—catered by the property’s chef, the celebrated Harry Sasson—was served relatively early on so that the salsa band could get down to business. Bruno Rezza, Harper's BAZAAR, "Virginia Ashe & Ian Ross Embraced All Things Tropical For Their Wedding Weekend in Cartagena," 21 May 2019 Roof problems, for example, are really important to fix early on you won't have to worry about dropping so much money on an entirely new roof too soon. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "9 Home Mistakes That Are Costing You a LOT of Money," 15 May 2019 And while Big Tobacco led the e-cigarette market early on, Juul saw a massive 641 percent spike in sales from 2016 to 2017, according to a recent analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Big tobacco just spent $12.8 billion to get a taste of Juul," 20 Dec. 2018 Davies struggled early on the back nine with a double bogey at 11, and fell to even-par overall before four birdies in six holes put her back at the top of the leaderboard. BostonGlobe.com, "Robert Rock takes two-shot lead at Scottish Open," 14 July 2018 Fox early on Wednesday had increased its bid for Sky to £24.5 billion, or £14 per share, or $32.5 billion, only to be trumped again late in the day by Comcast with an offer of £26 billion, or £14.75 per share, or $34 billion. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, "U.K. Clears Fox's Sky Bid," 12 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of early on

1759, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about early on

Statistics for early on

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for early on

The first known use of early on was in 1759

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on early on

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with early on

Comments on early on

What made you want to look up early on? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!