(comparative and superlative of `early') more early than; most early; "a fashion popular in earlier times"; "his earlier work reflects the influence of his teacher"; "Verdi's earliest and most raucous opera"
at or near the beginning of a period of time or course of events or before the usual or expected time; "early morning"; "an early warning"; "early diagnosis"; "an early death"; "took early retirement"; "an early spring"; "early varieties of peas and tomatoes mature before most standard varieties"
being or occurring at an early stage of development; "in an early stage"; "early forms of life"; "early man"; "an early computer"
of an early stage in the development of a language or literature; "the Early Hebrew alphabetical script is that used mainly from the 11th to the 6th centuries B.C."; "Early Modern English is represented in documents printed from 1476 to 1700"