Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

early

[ur-lee] /ˈɜr li/
adverb, earlier, earliest.
1.
in or during the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.:
early in the year.
2.
in the early part of the morning:
to get up early.
3.
before the usual or appointed time; ahead of time:
They came early and found their hosts still dressing.
4.
far back in time:
The Greeks early learned to sail and navigate.
adjective, earlier, earliest.
5.
occurring in the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.:
an early hour of the day.
6.
occurring before the usual or appointed time:
an early dinner.
7.
belonging to a period far back in time:
early French architecture.
8.
occurring in the near future:
I look forward to an early reply.
9.
(of a fruit or vegetable) appearing or maturing before most others of its type:
early apples.
noun, plural earlies.
10.
a fruit or vegetable that appears before most others of its type.
Idioms
11.
early on, with but little time elapsed; early in the course of a process, project, etc.; early in the game.
Origin of early
950
before 950; Middle English erlich (adj.), erliche (adv.), Old English ǣrlīc, ǣrlīce, mutated variant of ārlīc, ārlīce, equivalent to ār- early (positive of ǣr ere) + līc(e) -ly
Related forms
earliness, noun
Synonyms
5. initial. 6. beforehand, premature.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for earliness
Historical Examples
  • At this moment, notwithstanding the earliness of the hour, the hall was crowded.

    The Nabob Alphonse Daudet
  • It is esteemed for the solidity of its flesh, and for its earliness and productiveness.

  • Despite the earliness of the hour, the gates of the city were already opened.

    The Last Days of Pompeii Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
  • earliness in coming in bearing is another admirable character.

    The Peaches of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • It has further value in its earliness, being the earliest of all cherries.

    The Cherries of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • A point of merit is earliness, as it ripens just before Moore Early.

    The Grapes of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • In spite of the earliness of the hour the waiting-room was crowded, its benches full.

    We Can't Have Everything Rupert Hughes
  • The quantity of strawberries, considering the earliness of the season, was astonishing.

    Pepita Ximenez Juan Valera
  • The earliness of the harvest (for early it must be) is always a clear advantage.

    Rural Rides William Cobbett
  • College professors of certain types are not noted for their earliness.

    Concerning Sally William John Hopkins
British Dictionary definitions for earliness

early

/ˈɜːlɪ/
adjective -lier, -liest
1.
before the expected or usual time
2.
occurring in or characteristic of the first part of a period or sequence
3.
occurring in or characteristic of a period far back in time
4.
occurring in the near future
5.
at the earliest, not before the time or date mentioned
6.
early days, too soon to tell how things will turn out
adverb -lier
7.
before the expected or usual time
8.
near the first part of a period or sequence: I was talking to him earlier
Derived Forms
earliness, noun
Word Origin
Old English ǣrlīce, from ǣrere + -līce-ly²; related to Old Norse arliga
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for earliness

early

adv.

Old English ærlic "early," from ær "soon, ere" (see ere) + -lice, adverbial suffix (see -ly (2)). Cf. Old Norse arliga "early." The early bird of the proverb is from 1670s. Related: Earlier; earliest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with earliness
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for early

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for earliness

0
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for earliness