early

Something that's early happens right at the beginning of some specific time period, or before you expect it to happen. An early party guest shows up before the party starts.

An early riser gets up with the sun every morning, and you might eat an early dinner at five in the evening. If you're in your early twenties, you're closer to 20 than 30, while the early 20th century was the time period before 1950. If a baby comes early, she's born before her expected due date. The Old English source is ærlice, "early," which comes from ær, "soon" or "ere."

Definitions of early
1

adj 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”
Synonyms:
aboriginal, primaeval, primal, primeval, primordial
having existed from the beginning; in an earliest or original stage or state
advance, beforehand
being ahead of time or need
archaean, archean
of or relating to the earliest known rocks formed during the Precambrian Eon
archaeozoic, archeozoic
of or belonging to earlier of two divisions of the Precambrian era
azoic
before the appearance of life
earlier, earliest
(comparative and superlative of `early') more early than; most early
earlyish
being somewhat early
premature, untimely
uncommonly early or before the expected time
premature, previous
too soon or too hasty
proterozoic
formed in the later of two divisions of the Precambrian era
proto
indicating the first or earliest or original
wee
very early
first
preceding all others in time or space or degree
Antonyms:
middle
between an earlier and a later period of time
late
being or occurring at an advanced period of time or after a usual or expected time
intervening
occurring or falling between events or points in time
mid
used in combination to denote the middle
advanced, ripe
far along in time
after-hours
after closing time especially a legally established closing time
latish
somewhat late
posthumous
occurring or coming into existence after a person's death
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adj being or occurring at an early stage of development

“in an early stage”
early forms of life”
early man”
“an early computer”
Synonyms:
archaic, primitive
little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type
new, young
(of crops) harvested at an early stage of development; before complete maturity
crude, primitive, rude
belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness
embryonic, embryotic
in an early stage of development
inchoate, incipient
only partly in existence; imperfectly formed
precocious
appearing or developing early
Antonyms:
late, later
at or toward an end or late period or stage of development
advanced
comparatively late in a course of development
tardive
late-occurring (especially with reference to symptoms of a disease)
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adj 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”
Synonyms:
Old
of a very early stage in development
Antonyms:
middle
of a stage in the development of a language or literature between earlier and later stages
late
of a later stage in the development of a language or literature; used especially of dead languages
Modern, New
used of a living language; being the current stage in its development
New
in use after medieval times
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adj belonging to the distant past

“the early inhabitants of Europe”
Synonyms:
former, other
past
earlier than the present time; no longer current

adj expected in the near future

“look for an early end to the negotiations”
Synonyms:
future
yet to be or coming

adj very young

“at an early age”
Synonyms:
immature, young
(used of living things especially persons) in an early period of life or development or growth

adv during an early stage

early on in her career”
Synonyms:
early on

adv before the usual time or the time expected

“she graduated early
Synonyms:
ahead of time, too soon
Antonyms:
belatedly, late, tardily
later than usual or than expected

adv in good time

Synonyms:
betimes

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