What does Early mean?

Definitions for Early
ˈɜr liear·ly

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Early.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. earlyadjective

    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. earlyadjective

    being or occurring at an early stage of development

    "in an early stage"; "early forms of life"; "early man"; "an early computer"

  3. early(a), former(a), other(a)adjective

    belonging to the distant past

    "the early inhabitants of Europe"; "former generations"; "in other times"

  4. earlyadjective

    very young

    "at an early age"

  5. earlyadjective

    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"

  6. earlyadverb

    expected in the near future

    "look for an early end to the negotiations"

  7. early on, earlyadverb

    during an early stage

    "early on in her career"

  8. early, ahead of time, too soonadverb

    before the usual time or the time expected

    "she graduated early"; "the house was completed ahead of time"

  9. early, betimesadverb

    in good time

    "he awoke betimes that morning"


  1. earlynoun

    A shift (scheduled work period) that takes place early in the day.

  2. earlyadverb

    At a time before expected; sooner than usual.

    We finished the project an hour sooner than scheduled, so we left early.

  3. earlyadjective

    At a time in advance of the usual or expected event.

  4. earlyadjective

    Arriving a time before expected; sooner than on-time.

  5. earlyadjective

    Near the start or beginning.

  6. Etymology: From erly, erli, ærlice, from ær + adverbial suffix -lice. Cognate with Old Norse árla (> Danish and Norwegian årle, Swedish arla)

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. EARLYadjective

    Soon with respect to something else: as, in the morning, with respect to the sun; in time, with respect to creation; in the season, in comparison with other products.

    Etymology: ær, Saxon, before.

    I am a tainted wether of the flock,
    Meetest for death: the weakest kind of fruit
    Drops earliest to the ground, and so let me. William Shakespeare.

    It is a curiosity to have several fruits upon one tree; and the more when some of them come early, and some come late, so that you may have upon the same tree ripe fruits all Summer. Francis Bacon, Natural History, №. 501.

    God made all the world, that he might be worshipped in some parts of the world; and therefore, in the first and most early times of the church, what care did he manifest to have such places erected to his honour? Robert South, Sermons.

    And yet my numbers please the rural throng,
    Rough satyrs dance, and Pan approves the song;
    The nymphs, forsaking ev’ry cave and spring,
    Their early fruit and milk-white turtles bring. Alexander Pope.

    Sickness is early old age: it teaches us a diffidence in our earthly state, and inspires us with the thoughts of a future. Alexander Pope.

    Oh soul of honour!
    Oh early heroe! Edmund Smith, Phædra and Hippolitus.

  2. Earlyadverb

    Soon; betimes.

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    Early before the morn with crimson ray
    The windows of bright heav’n opened had. Fairy Queen.

    None in more languages can show
    Those arts, which you so early know. Edmund Waller.

    The princess makes her issue like herself, by instilling early into their minds religion, virtue and honour. Joseph Addison, Freehol.


  1. early

    Early refers to a point in time that occurs before a specified time, event, or expected occurrence. It can also refer to something near the beginning or at the initial stage of a period or process.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Earlyadverb

    soon; in good season; seasonably; betimes; as, come early

  2. Earlyadverb

    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

  3. Earlyadverb

    coming in the first part of a period of time, or among the first of successive acts, events, etc

  4. Etymology: [OE. erli, erliche, AS. rlce; r sooner + lc like. See Ere, and Like.]


  1. Early

    Early is a city located in Brown County in west-central Texas. The population was 2,762 at the 2010 census. It is named for Walter U. Early, who donated land for the schools. It is home to the Early Independent School District and the Heartland Mall.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Early

    ėr′li, adj. in good season: at or near the beginning of the day: relating to the beginning: happening in the near future.—adv. near the beginning: soon.—n. Ear′liness.—Early and late, at all times; Early bird, an early riser; Early English (archit.), generally applied to the form of Gothic in which the pointed arch was first employed in Britain. The Early English succeeded the Norman towards the end of the 12th century, and merged into the Decorated at the end of the 13th.—Keep early hours, to rise and go to bed betimes; Small and early (coll.), applied to evening parties; The early bird catches the worm, a proverb in favour of early rising. [A.S. árlíceǽr, before.]

Suggested Resources

  1. Early

    Soon vs Early -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Soon and Early.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. EARLY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Early is ranked #2578 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Early surname appeared 14,014 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 5 would have the surname Early.

    73.2% or 10,262 total occurrences were White.
    21.4% or 3,006 total occurrences were Black.
    2.1% or 301 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.9% or 276 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.7% or 102 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    0.4% or 64 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Early' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #311

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Early' in Written Corpus Frequency: #794

  3. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Early' in Adverbs Frequency: #124

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Early' in Adjectives Frequency: #18

Anagrams for Early »

  1. layer

  2. relay

  3. re-lay

How to pronounce Early?

How to say Early in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Early in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Early in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of Early in a Sentence

  1. Zokir Aliyev:

    But I wasn't there (in Afghanistan) and there are documents to prove that, however, I did participate in some opposition activists' meetings in Turkey in the early 1990s while I was a student there.

  2. Steve Beissinger:

    When we go back and resurvey places [in Joshua Tree] that the early scientists at UC Berkeley visited a century ago, we find about half as many birds, and that's because it's warmed and dried so much, what we're seeing is a whole kind of change in a community; a collapse in the case of birds. For park managers, there's limits of what they can actually do to reverse this because of the climate change effects.

  3. Ashti Hawrami:

    Effectively, we have been financially discriminated against for a long time. By early 2014, when we did not receive the budget, we decided we need to start thinking about independent oil sales.

  4. Animal Capital:

    We've learned from the best. We're doing our best to make sure that we don't make those early mistakes, we expect to make mistakes. It's about how we manage the downside.

  5. Daniel Ives:

    Ultimately this strategy is laying the breadcrumbs to the highly anticipated AR headset Apple Glasses set to make Apple Glasses debut likely before holiday season or latest early 2023.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Early

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    pleasing in appearance especially by reason of conformity to ideals of form and proportion
    A squashy
    B urban
    C handsome
    D disjointed

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