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small hours

plural noun
hours after midnight; early morning hours:
We danced into the small hours.
Origin of small hours
First recorded in 1830-40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for small hours
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the small hours the breeze weakened, then failed altogether.

    The Shadow-Line Joseph Conrad
  • They will be only turning us out in the small hours, to go home and face insomnia.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • It was by this time in the small hours of a dark, moonless night.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • It was the small hours, very near the time to relieve guard.

    Little Novels of Italy Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • All her days, and her nights into the small hours, seemed to be filled.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • Who had come to that deserted wing of the inn in the small hours, and on what business?

    The Shrieking Pit Arthur J. Rees
  • Why, it sounds like a clock that strikes thirteen in the small hours of the night!

    Old Fogy James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for small hours

small hours

plural noun
the small hours, the early hours of the morning, after midnight and before dawn
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
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Idioms and Phrases with small hours

small hours

Also,wee hours. The hours following midnight, as in I stayed up working through the small hours, or The parents didn't come home until the wee hours. The adjectives small and wee both refer to the low numbers of those hours (one o'clock, two o'clock, etc.). [ c. 1830 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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