Meaning of early

ear•ly

Pronunciation: (ûr'lē), [key]
— adv., adj., n., pl. -li•er, -li•est, -li•er, -li•est, -lies.
—adv.
  1. in or during the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.: early in the year.
  2. in the early part of the morning: to get up early.
  3. before the usual or appointed time; ahead of time: They came early and found their hosts still dressing.
  4. far back in time: The Greeks early learned to sail and navigate.
  5. with but little time elapsed; early in the course of a process, project, etc.; early in the game.
—adj.
  1. occurring in the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.: an early hour of the day.
  2. occurring before the usual or appointed time: an early dinner.
  3. belonging to a period far back in time: early French architecture.
  4. occurring in the near future: I look forward to an early reply.
  5. (of a fruit or vegetable) appearing or maturing before most others of its type: early apples.
—n.
  1. a fruit or vegetable that appears before most others of its type.

Ear•ly

Pronunciation: (ûr'lē), [key]
— n.
  1. 1816–94, Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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