—adv. 1. in or during the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.: early in the year. 2. in the early part of the morning: to get up early. 3. before the usual or appointed time; ahead of time: They came early and found their hosts still dressing. 4. far back in time: The Greeks early learned to sail and navigate. 5. early on, with but little time elapsed; early in the course of a process, project, etc.; early in the game.
—adj. 1. occurring in the first part of a period of time, a course of action, a series of events, etc.: an early hour of the day. 2. occurring before the usual or appointed time: an early dinner. 3. belonging to a period far back in time: early French architecture. 4. occurring in the near future: I look forward to an early reply. 5. (of a fruit or vegetable) appearing or maturing before most others of its type: early apples.
—n. a fruit or vegetable that appears before most others of its type.
Pronunciation: (ûr'lē),[key] —n. Ju•bal Anderson Pronunciation: (jOO'bul),[key] 1816–94, Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War.