Ear·ly, a. [Compar. Earlier superl. Earliest.]
1. In advance of the usual or appointed time; in good season; prior in time; among or near the first; -- opposed to late; as, the early bird; an early spring; early fruit.
Early and provident fear is the mother of safety. --Burke.
The doorsteps and threshold with the early grass springing up about them. --Hawthorne.
2. Coming in the first part of a period of time, or among the first of successive acts, events, etc.
Seen in life's early morning sky. --Keble.
The forms of its earlier manhood. --Longfellow.
The earliest poem he composed was in his seventeenth summer. --J. C. Shairp.
Early English Philol. See the Note under English.
Early English architecture, the first of the pointed or Gothic styles used in England, succeeding the Norman style in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Syn: -- Forward; timely; not late; seasonable.
adj 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" [ant: middle, late]
2: being or occurring at an early stage of development; "in an
early stage"; "early forms of life"; "early man"; "an
early computer" [ant: late]
3: of the distant past; "the early inhabitants of Europe";
"former generations"; "in other times" [syn: early(a), former(a),
4: very young; "at an early age"
5: 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" [ant: middle, late]
6: expected in the near future; "look for an early end to the
adv 1: during an early stage; "early on in her career" [syn: early
2: before the usual time or the time expected; "she graduated
early"; "the house was completed ahead of time" [syn: ahead
of time, too soon] [ant: late]
3: in good time; "he awoke betimes that morning" [syn: betimes]
[also: earliest, earlier]
adj : (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";
"Verdi's earliest and most raucous opera" [syn: earliest]
adv 1: earlier in time; previously; "I had known her before"; "as I
said before"; "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" [syn: before]
2: comparatives of `soon' or `early'; "Come a little sooner, if
you can"; "came earlier than I expected" [syn: sooner]
3: before now; "why didn't you tell me in the first place?"
[syn: in the first place, in the beginning, to begin