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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"
Adverb: early  ur-lee
  1. During an early stage
    "early on in her career";
    - early on
     
  2. Before the usual time or the time expected
    "she graduated early";
    - ahead of time, too soon
     
  3. In good time
    "he awoke early that morning";
    - betimes

Derived forms: earliest, earlier

See also: aboriginal, advance, archaean, archaeozoic, archaic, archean [US], archeozoic, azoic, beforehand, crude, earlier, earliest, 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