early Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “early” in the English Dictionary

"early" in British English

See all translations

earlyadjective, adverb

uk   /ˈɜː.li/  us   /ˈɝː.li/ (earlier, earliest)
A1 near the beginning of a period of time, or before the usual, expected, or planned time: If you finish early you can go home. If you arrived earlier, you'd have more time. I like being a little early for interviews. They scored two goals early (on) in the game. I hate having to get up early (in the morning). I'm going to have an early night (= go to sleep before my usual time). She was a poet living in the early 15th century. He learned to read at the early age of three. It's a little early to be sowing carrot seeds, isn't it? Henry Ford was a pioneer during the early days/years of car manufacture. My earliest (= first) memory is of being shown around our new house. These are some of my early (= first) attempts at sculpture. Here's a dish I prepared earlier (= I made a short time ago).
Early flowers and vegetables are ones that are ready early in the year, before most other ones.
at the earliest
C2 used after a date or time to show that something will not happen before then: I'm very busy, so I won't be with you till four o'clock at the earliest.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

(Definition of early from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"early" in American English

See all translations

earlyadjective, adverb [-er/-est only]

 us   /ˈɜr·li/
near the beginning of (a period of time), or before the usual, expected, or planned time: I got up early this morning to walk the dog. Sheena’s in her early thirties. She arrived early for the interview. If you finish early (= before the end of the allowed time) you can go home. Detroit has been an automotive center since the early days/years (= the beginning time) of car manufacturing. Here’s a dish I prepared earlier (= I made a short time ago). It was a great race for Needles, who took the lead early on (= soon after the start).
(Definition of early from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"early" in Business English

See all translations

earlyadjective

uk   us   /ˈɜːli/ (earlier, earliest)
at your earliest convenience
used to ask someone to do something, or to say that you will do something as soon as possible: Please give me a call back at your earliest convenience on extension one two four seven.
(Definition of early from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of early?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
A bunch of stuff about plurals
A bunch of stuff about plurals
by ,
May 24, 2016
by Colin McIntosh One of the many ways in which English differs from other languages is its use of uncountable nouns to talk about collections of objects: as well as never being used in the plural, they’re never used with a or an. Examples are furniture (plural in German and many other languages), cutlery (plural in Italian), and

Read More 

Word of the Day

shade

to prevent direct light from shining on something

Word of the Day

convo noun
convo noun
May 23, 2016
informal a conversation The convo around concussions mostly focuses on guys who play football, but Chastain thinks that this whole thing could be a headache for women too.

Read More