English dictionary

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English adjective: early

1. early at or near the beginning of a period of time or course of events or before the usual or expected time

SamplesEarly morning.
An early warning.
Early diagnosis.
An early death.
Took early retirement.
An early spring.
Early varieties of peas and tomatoes mature before most standard varieties.

Similaraboriginal, advance, archaean, archaeozoic, archean, archeozoic, azoic, beforehand, earlier, earliest, earlyish, premature, premature, previous, primaeval, primal, primeval, primordial, proterozoic, proto, untimely, wee

See alsofirst


Antonymslate, middle

2. early being or occurring at an early stage of development

SamplesIn an early stage.
Early forms of life.
Early man.
An early computer.

Similararchaic, crude, embryonic, embryotic, inchoate, incipient, new, precocious, primitive, primitive, rude, young

Antonymslater, late

3. early belonging to the distant past

SamplesThe early inhabitants of Europe.
Former generations.
In other times.

Synonymsformer, other


Antonymsfuture, present

4. early very young

SamplesAt an early age.

Similarimmature, young


5. early of an early stage in the development of a language or literature

SamplesThe Early Hebrew alphabetical script is that used mainly from the 11th to the 6th centuries B.C..
Early Modern English is represented in documents printed from 1476 to 1700.


Domain categorylinguistics

Antonymsmiddle, late

6. early expected in the near future

SamplesLook for an early end to the negotiations.


Antonymspast, present

English adverb: early

1. early during an early stage

SamplesEarly on in her career.

Synonymsearly on

2. early before the usual time or the time expected

SamplesShe graduated early.
The house was completed ahead of time.

Synonymsahead of time, too soon

Antonymsbelatedly, late, tardily

3. early in good time

SamplesHe awoke betimes that morning.


Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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