before the usual time or the time expected; "she graduated early"; "the house was completed ahead of time"
in good time; "he awoke betimes that morning"
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"
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