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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for small hours

  • In the small-hours of to-night we leave this wonderful place.

    Letters to Helen|Keith Henderson
  • You must have enjoyed it better than you expected, for more than one of the ‘small-hours’ had struck before you came home.

    Janet's Love and Service|Margaret M Robertson

British Dictionary definitions for small hours

small hours


pl n

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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.