early on


Definition of early on

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

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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.

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These included Diderot’s initial co-editor Jean le Rond d’Alembert, a brilliant scientist who quit in a huff early on, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu and an erudite nobleman named Louis de Jaucourt, who wrote more than 17,000 entries. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "‘Diderot’ Review: Wherever His Mind Led Him," 15 Feb. 2019 According to her testimony, Dickens was informed early on in the process of season four by new showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg that Madison would be dying in the episodes ahead. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fear the Walking Dead' Star Confirms "Dangerous" and "Ferocious" Kim Dickens Twist," 10 June 2018 SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched from Florida early on Monday morning. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX launches heavy telecom satellite, sticks high-seas landing," 10 Sep. 2018 With a background in construction, designer and artist Troy Smith became fascinated with rebar from early on. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "A Bold and Sculptural New Furniture Collection Inspired by the Basics," 26 Feb. 2019 From very early on, there were warning signs of abuse. Lauren Smiley, Glamour, "Two White Moms. Six Black Kids. One Unthinkable Tragedy. A Look Inside the ‘Perfect’ Hart Family," 6 Sep. 2018 My mom early on instilled the importance of taking care of your skin from a young age. Michelle Lee, Allure, "CEO and Author Jaclyn Johnson on Why Self-Care Is the Key to Success," 21 Aug. 2018 The Portuguese side set the tone for the game from early on, with Cristiano Ronaldo's early shot in the third minute - before Joao Mario firing over after a rapid attack from Portugal. SI.com, "Iran 1-1 Portugal: VAR Grabs the Headlines Again as Late Penalty Denies Group Win for Portugal," 25 June 2018 The yearly holiday celebrating dads also has commercial roots, specifically in the clothing industry, which from early on in the 1900s was seeking to profit off of the holiday. Alix Langone, Time, "This Super Cute Father's Day Google Doodle Will Make You Nostalgic," 17 June 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.

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First Known Use of early on

1759, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

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The first known use of early on was in 1759

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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