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  1. ear·ly
    IPA[ˈərlē]
  2. adjective

    • 1. happening or done before the usual or expected time:

      we ate an early lunch
      Synonym : untimely, premature, too soon, too early, before time, unseasonable, prompt, timely, quick, speedy, rapid, fast, without delay, expeditious, rathe
    • 2. (of a plant or crop) flowering or ripening before other varieties:

      early potatoes
    • 3. happening, belonging to, or done near the beginning of a particular time or period:

      an early goal secured victory
    • 4. done or occurring near the beginning of the day:

      we agreed to meet at 6 a.m. to get an early start
    • 5. denoting or belonging to the beginning or opening stages of a historical period, cultural movement, or sphere of activity:

      early impressionism
    • 6. occurring at the beginning of a sequence:

      the earlier chapters of the book

    adverb

    • 1. before the usual or expected time:

      I was planning to finish work early today
      Synonym : early in the day, in the early morning, at dawn, at daybreak, at cockcrow, with the lark, at stupid o'clock, before the usual time, before the appointed time, prematurely, too soon, ahead of time, ahead of schedule, in good time, betimes
    • 2. near the beginning of a particular time or period:

      we lost a couple of games early in the season
    • 3. near the beginning of the day:

      I wrote this piece early one morning
    • 4. before the present time or before the time one is referring to:

      you met my husband earlier
    • adjective

      happening or done before the usual or expected time:

      (of a plant or crop) flowering or ripening before other varieties:

    • adverb

      before the usual or expected time:

      near the beginning of a particular time or period:

    • noun

      potatoes which are ready to be harvested before the main crop.

      early shifts:

    • noun

      the practice of leaving employment before the statutory age, especially on favorable financial terms:
    • noun

      a system or practice by which votes are cast ahead of election day:
    • noun

      medieval, Renaissance, and early baroque music, especially as revived and played on period instruments:
    • adjective

      denoting the earliest stage of English Gothic church architecture, typical of the late 12th and 13th centuries and marked by the use of pointed arches and simple lancet windows without tracery:
    • noun

      a method of teaching a foreign language in which children at an early stage of their formal schooling receive all or most of their regular curriculum instruction in that language:
    • noun

      a person who habitually gets out of bed earlier than is usual:
    • noun

      a person who casts a vote ahead of election day:
    • noun

      a person who starts using a product or technology as soon as it becomes available.
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