early

[ ur-lee ]
/ ˈɜr li /

adverb, ear·li·er, ear·li·est.

adjective, ear·li·er, ear·li·est.

noun, plural ear·lies.

a fruit or vegetable that appears before most others of its type.

Idioms

    early on, with but little time elapsed; early in the course of a process, project, etc.; early in the game.

Origin of early

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

ear·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for earliest

British Dictionary definitions for earliest

early

/ (ˈɜːlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest

adverb -lier

before the expected or usual time
near the first part of a period or sequenceI was talking to him earlier

Derived Forms

earliness, noun

Word Origin for early

Old English ǣrlīce, from ǣr ere + -līce -ly ²; 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

Idioms and Phrases with earliest

early


In addition to the idioms beginning with early

  • early bird catches the worm
  • early on
  • early to bed, early to rise (makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise)

also see:

  • bright and early
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.