Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

early

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
adverb American English pronunciation: early /ˈɜrli/ 
Word Forms
Close
comparativeearlier
superlativeearliest
  1. 1
    before the usual or expected time

    I don't get up very early.

    The flight arrived ten minutes early.

  2. 2
    near the beginning of a period of time

    Let's meet again early next week.

    early in:

    These simple plants appeared very early in the history of life on Earth.

    1. a.
      near the beginning of someone's life

      His genius as a musician was shown very early.

      early in:

      She was widowed very early in life.

    2. b.
      near the beginning of an event or activity
      early in:

      It's best not to rush things this early in your career.

  3. 3
    near the beginning of a piece of writing
    early in:

    This point was discussed earlier in the chapter.

  4. 4
    soon enough to avoid problems

    If we begin the treatment early, we have a better chance of success.

phrases

dark pool

a method of financial trading in which share prices are hidden and not openly available to the public

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day

bottom gear

the gear that you use for driving a vehicle very slowly

Open Dictionary

subtweet

to post a tweet, usually a negative one, that mentions a person without using the @ sign, so that they will not see the message on their Twitter feed …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog