early


early
early adv Early, soon, beforehand, betimes share the meaning of at or nearly at a given point of time or around the beginning of a specified or implied period of time.
Early is used chiefly in reference to a period of time (as a day, a lifetime, an age, or a term) and in dating a happening with reference to the beginning of that period. In such use it implies occurrence shortly after the time at which the period is set to begin or is regarded as beginning
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crocuses blossomed early this spring

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migrations took place early in the Middle Ages

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early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise— Franklin

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Voltaire perceived very early in life that to be needy was to be dependent— John Morley

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Sometimes, especially when the reference is to a point of time, early may mean in advance of the time set or expected or of the usual time; thus, a person who arrives early at a meeting and leaves early comes slightly before (sometimes just at) the time set or noticeably ahead of the others and leaves before the gathering breaks up; winter came early (that is, ahead of the expected or normal time) this year.
Soon usually refers to a definite point of time (as the present or the beginning of a period, a process, or a course), but it commonly implies occurrence after the moment in mind; thus, when a physician tells a patient to come early, he by implication asks that patient to come in advance of the time set for the beginning of his office hours so that the patient may be attended to soon, or shortly after the office hours begin; on the other hand, when he asks a patient to come soon, he by implication requests another visit shortly after the present one. But soon carries not only the implication of subsequence to a specified or implied point of time but also, even more strongly, that of quickness or promptness or lack of delay
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I called, and he soon appeared

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the absconder was apprehended soon after his disappearance

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I hope you will find your ring very soon

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Soon, however, is sometimes used in place of early, though with greater emphasis on promptness, in poetry, in some idiomatic expressions, and in the comparative and superlative degrees
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late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers— Wordsworth

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must you go so soon?

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excuse my not writing sooner

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the spirit. .. may know how soonest to accomplish the great end— Shelley

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Beforehand sometimes implies a time in advance of that set or expected or customary
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he promised to be here beforehand

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More often it refers to a time in advance of a possible, probable, or certain occurrence, and it then usually implies anticipation or anticipatory measures
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if one knows a thing beforehand one can be prepared

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try to be beforehand in dealing with an enemy

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had . . . taken unusual pains to inform himself beforehand concerning the subject matter— Dean

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Betimes is a somewhat old-fashioned or literary word that may replace either early or soon
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not to be abed after midnight is to be up betimesShak.

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he tires betimes that spurs too fast— Shak.

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More often it implies occurrence at the proper or due time and therefore stresses seasonableness. Something which happens betimes is neither too early nor too late
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know the art of giving advice betimes

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because he had learned his lesson betimes, he was able to give perfect satisfaction afterwards

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if we had taken steps betimes to create an air force half as strong again ... we should have kept control of the future— Sir Winston Churchill

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Antonyms: late

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Early — may refer to:History * the beginning or oldest part of a defined historical period, as opposed to middle or late periods. ** e.g., Early modern EuropePlaces: *In the United States: ** Early, Iowa ** Early, Texas ** Early County, GeorgiaPeople: *… …   Wikipedia

  • Early — ist der Name von Personen: Jubal Anderson Early (1816–1894), General der Konföderierten James M. Early (1922–2004), US amerikanischer Elektrotechnik Ingenieur Peter Early (1773−1817), US amerikanischer Politiker und Gouverneur von Georgia Orte in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Early — Ear ly, a. [Compar. {Earlier} ([ e]r l[i^]*[ e]r); superl. {Earliest}.] [OE. earlich. [root]204. See {Early}, adv.] 1. In advance of the usual or appointed time; in good season; prior in time; among or near the first; opposed to {late}; as, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • early — ► ADJECTIVE (earlier, earliest) & ADVERB 1) before the usual or expected time. 2) of or at the beginning of a particular time, period, or sequence. ● at the earliest Cf. ↑at the earliest ● early bird …   English terms dictionary

  • early — [adj1] in the beginning a bit previous, aboriginal, ancient, antecedent, antediluvian, antiquated, brand new, budding, early bird*, fresh, initial, new, original, preceding, premier, prevenient, previous, primal, prime, primeval, primitive,… …   New thesaurus

  • Early B — Early B, de son vrai nom Earlando Arrington Neil, est un deejay jamaïcain né en 1956 à Kingston (Jamaïque) et décédé le 9 novembre 1994. Il était surnommé The Doctor. Discographie 1984 Four Wheel No Real (Midnight Rock) Singles: Cane Man A Fe… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Early — Early, IA U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 605 Housing Units (2000): 293 Land area (2000): 0.394821 sq. miles (1.022582 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.394821 sq. miles (1.022582 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Early — Ear ly ([ e]r l[y^]), adv. [OE. erli, erliche, AS. [=ae]rl[=i]ce; [=ae]r sooner + l[=i]c like. See {Ere}, and {Like}.] Soon; in good season; seasonably; betimes; as, come early. [1913 Webster] Those that me early shall find me. Prov. viii. 17.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • early — O.E. ærlic early, from ær soon, ere (see ERE (Cf. ere)) + lice, adverbial suffix (see LY (Cf. ly) (2)). Cf. O.N. arliga early. The early bird of the proverb is from 1670s. Related: Earlier; earliest …   Etymology dictionary

  • early on — is first recorded in BrE in 1928 and only later in AmE. It is a kind of back formation from earlier on, itself modelled on later on (first recorded 1822). Early on and earlier on are both now common in both BrE and AmE: • The BBC recognised early …   Modern English usage


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