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early

ear·ly / ˈərlē/ • adj. (ear·li·er , ear·li·est ) 1. happening or done before the usual or expected time: we ate an early lunch. ∎  (of a plant or crop) flowering or ripening before other varieties: early potatoes. 2. happening, belonging to, or done near the beginning of a particular time or period: an early goal secured victory. • adv. 1. before the usual or expected time: I was planning to finish work early today. 2. near the beginning of a particular time or period: we lost a couple of games early in the season. ∎  (earlier) before the present time or before the time one is referring to: you met my husband earlier. PHRASES: at the earliest not before the time or date specified: the table won't be delivered until next week at the earliest. early bird humorous a person who rises, arrives, or acts before the usual or expected time. an early grave a premature or untimely death: he worked himself into an early grave. early (or earlier) on at an early (or earlier) stage in a particular time or period: they discovered early on that the published data were wrong.

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