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Adverb: earlier  ur-lee-u(r)
  1. A comparative of 'soon' or 'early'
    "came earlier than I expected";
    - sooner
     
  2. Earlier in time; previously
    "he called me the day before but your call had come even earlier"; "her parents had died four years earlier"; "I mentioned that problem earlier";
    - before
     
  3. Before now
    "why didn't you tell me earlier?";
    - in the first place, in the beginning, to begin with, originally
Adjective: earlier  ur-lee-u(r)
  1. (comparative and superlative of 'early') more early than; most early
    "a fashion popular in earlier times"; "his earlier work reflects the influence of his teacher";
    - earliest
Adjective: early (earlier,earliest)  ur-lee
  1. At or near the beginning of a period of time or course of events or before the usual or expected time
    "early 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"
     
  2. Very young
    "at an early age"
     
  3. Being or occurring at an early stage of development
    "in an early stage"; "early forms of life"; "early man"; "an early computer"
     
  4. Belonging to the distant past
    "the early inhabitants of Europe";
    - former, other
     
  5. Expected in the near future
    "look for an early end to the negotiations"
     
  6. (linguistics) of an early stage in the development of a language or literature
    "the 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"

See also: aboriginal, advance, archaean, archaeozoic, archaic, archean [US], archeozoic, azoic, beforehand, crude, earlyish, embryonic, embryotic, first, future, immature, inchoate, incipient, new, Old, past, precocious, premature, previous, primaeval, primal, primeval, primitive, primordial, proterozoic, proto, rude, timing, untimely, wee, young

Antonym: late, middle

Encyclopedia: Early, Stephen