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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. Belonging to the distant past
    "the early inhabitants of Europe";
    - former, other
  3. Very young
    "at an early age"
  4. Being or occurring at an early stage of development
    "in an early stage"; "early forms of life"; "early man"; "an early computer"
  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: earlier, earliest

See also: 1st, 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: belatedly, late, middle

Encyclopedia: Early, Stephen