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early grave

An unnaturally early death. Usually used in reference to a behavior that will bring about such a death. You're headed toward an early grave if you keep drinking the way you do now. My mom is always telling me, "If you keep staying out till all hours of the night, you're going to put me in an early grave!"
See also: early, grave

dig (oneself) an early grave

To do things or act in a way that is likely to result in one's premature death. You're going to dig yourself an early grave if you keep drinking as much as you do now.
See also: dig, early, grave

dig (someone) an early grave

To do things or act in a way that is likely to result in someone's premature death. The stress of John's job is going to dig him an early grave.
See also: dig, early, grave

drive (oneself) to an early grave

To do things or act in a way that is likely to result in one's premature death. You're going to drive yourself to an early grave if you keep drinking as much as you do now.
See also: drive, early, grave

drive (someone) to an early grave

To do things or act in a way that is likely to result in someone's premature death. The stress of John's job is going to drive him to an early grave.
See also: drive, early, grave

send (someone) to an early grave

1. To do things or act in a way that is likely to result in one's premature death. You're going to send yourself to an early grave if you keep drinking as much as you do now.
2. To do things or act in a way that is likely to result in someone's premature death. The stress of John's job is going to send him to an early grave.
See also: early, grave, send

early days

The beginning period or phase of some entity, trend, or phenomenon. The phrase is used when such a thing is being recalled at a later time. In the early days of this project, I expected a very different outcome than what we have seen. Back in the early days, the company that became this multinational corporation only had four employees!
See also: days, early

early bird

1. Someone who is more active and alert in the early hours of the morning than later in the day; an early riser. I tried dating an early bird once, but since I like to sleep in late, it didn't really work out. I suppose it's more out of necessity than anything, but I turned into an early bird as soon as I had kids.
2. Someone who arrives early to an event. We'd better have everything ready for the garage sale—the early birds will be here sniffing around before we get a chance to set up.
See also: bird, early

at an early date

soon; some day soon. The note said, "Please call me at an early date." You are expected to return the form to the office at an early date.
See also: date, early

at someone's earliest convenience

as soon as it is possible for someone to do something. (This is also a polite way of saying immediately.) Please stop by my office at your earliest convenience. Bill, please have the oil changed at your earliest convenience.
See also: convenience, early

bright and early

very early in the morning or the workday. Yes, I'll be there bright and early. I want to see you here on time tomorrow, bright and early, or you're fired!
See also: and, bright, early

early bird

 
1. . Fig. a person who gets up early. I never miss sunrise. I'm an early bird. The early birds were up at dawn and ready for breakfast.
2. Fig. a person who arrives early. The early birds get the best seats. There were some early birds who arrived before the party was set to start.
3. Fig. having to do with early arrival. (Usually hyphenated.) Early-bird arrivals will be given a free cup of coffee. The early-bird special this week is a free six-pack of iced tea for the first 100 visitors.
See also: bird, early

The early bird catches the worm.

Prov. If you wake up and get to work early, you will succeed. (Sometimes used to remark that someone is awake and working surprisingly early, as in the first example.) Fred: What are you doing in the office at 7:30 A.M.? Jane: The early bird catches the worm. I didn't expect to see you studying at the library at this hour of the morning. The early bird catches the worm, huh?
See also: bird, catch, early, worm

early on

early; at an early stage. We recognized the problem early on, but we waited too long to do something about it. This doesn't surprise me. I knew about it early on.
See also: early, on

Early ripe, early rotten,

 and Soon ripe, soon rotten.
Prov. A child with extraordinary talent or intelligence will probably lose those qualities by the time he or she grows up. Jill: Philip was such a fine young boy; I'm surprised he's become such a good-for-nothing adult. Jane: Early ripe, early rotten. Jane: You must be very proud of your little boy. He seems so mature for his age. Ellen: I'm afraid it won't last. You know what they say: "Soon ripe, soon rotten."
See also: early, rotten

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Prov. Going to bed early and waking up early is good for success. Grandmother: I don't think it's good for you to be staying out so late, dear. Early to bed and early to riseGrandson: Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Yeah, Grandma, I know. Host: Don't leave so soon! The party's just beginning. Guest: It's past my bedtime, I'm afraid. Host: Early to bed, early to rise, huh?
See also: and, bed, early, make, man, wise

gotta get up pretty early in the morning to (do something)

Rur. it would be difficult to do something (specified) because of the ability or quality involved. You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to cheat Bill Johnson. He's a sharp businessman for sure. You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to know your Bible better than Preacher Harris.
See also: early, get, gotta, morning, pretty, up

bright and early

very early in the morning You'll have to be at the airport bright and early to make that flight.
See also: and, bright, early

at your earliest convenience

as soon as you can Call me back at your earliest convenience.
See also: convenience, early

early on

shortly after the beginning He decided early on that this was the perfect school for him.
See also: early, on

it's early days (yet)

it is too soon to make a judgment about something It looks like we will earn a profit, but it's early days yet and we can't be sure.
See also: days, early

bright and early

very early in the morning You're up bright and early.
See also: and, bright, early

an early bath

  (British & Australian informal)
if you take an early bath, you are forced to stop doing an activity sooner than you intended to
Usage notes: This phrase is often used about sports such as football.
The spokesman took an early bath after a series of embarrassing and incorrect statements. And that's his second yellow card so it looks like an early bath for Taylor.
See also: bath, early

an early bird

someone who gets up early in the morning Ellen's the early bird in this house, not me.
See also: bird, early

it's early days (yet)

  (British & Australian)
something that you say which means that it is too soon to make a judgement about something Both teams are near the bottom of the league, but it's early days yet.
See also: days, early

The early bird catches the worm.

something that you say in order to tell someone that if they want to be successful they should do something immediately If you see a job that interests you, apply as soon as possible. The early bird catches the worm.
See also: bird, catch, early, worm

at one's convenience

Also, at one's earliest convenience. Whenever one wishes; also, as soon as one can. For example, Pick up the car any time, at your convenience, or We need that drawing very soon, so please finish it at your earliest convenience. The use of convenience in the sense of "ease" or "absence of trouble" dates from about 1700.
See also: convenience

bright and early

Early in the morning, at dawn, as in It's a long trip, so we'll have to start out bright and early. The bright here presumably alludes to the brilliance of the dawning sun, which has long been noted by poets. [Early 1800s]
See also: and, bright, early

early bird catches the worm

Also, early bird gets the worm. One who arrives first has the best chance for success, as in She's always the first one in line and does well at these auctions-the early bird catches the worm! This proverbial saying, first recorded in English in 1605, is so familiar that it is often shortened to early bird, a term also used in the sense of "early riser", as in You can call me at seven-I'm an early bird, as well as "early diner" ( This restaurant has early-bird specials at lower prices).
See also: bird, catch, early, worm

early on

At an early stage in a process or course of events, as in He started using computers very early on. [1920s]
See also: early, on

early to bed, early to rise (makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise)

Prudent habits pay off, as in With final exams coming, you'd best remember, early to bed and early to rise. This ancient rhyming proverb, so familiar that it is often abbreviated as in the example, was long ascribed to Benjamin Franklin, who quoted it in this form in Poor Richard's Almanack. However, slightly different versions existed in English in the mid-1400s and in Latin even earlier.
See also: and, early, man, rise

early beam(s)

n. dawn; early morning. (Streets.) He was away every day, early black to early beam.
See also: beam, early

early beam

verb
See also: beam, early

early bird

1. n. a person who gets up early. The early birds saw the corpse on the street and called the cops.
2. n. a person who arrives early. There were some early birds who arrived before the tea things were laid.
3. mod. having to do with early arrival. Early bird arrivals will be given a free cup of coffee.
See also: bird, early

early black

n. dusk; early evening. (Streets.) He was away every day, early black to early beams.
See also: black, early

early on

At an early stage or point: Early on in the movie, the main character loses his job.
See also: early, on
References in periodicals archive ?
There is a potential of recovering other relics from the web's earliest days through Mr.
The earliest iron implements found in Wales come from Llyn Fawr at the head of the Rhondda Valley, where objects, apparently deposited as votive offerings, include three made of iron: a sword, a spearhead and a sickle.
In most cases, this change would result in an increase in taxable income generally taken into account entirely in the earliest open year under examination.
The earliest evidence of Chinese pictographic writing is found on these divinatory shells.
Scientists are also developing a new understanding of how some of the earliest land vertebrates moved.
The earliest known mention of Babylon comes from a tablet made during which king's reign?
He is not expected to play until Friday, at the earliest, when the Lakers host Atlanta.
The earliest photograph in this exhibition (Self Portrait [Reception], 1975) shows the boy entrepreneur seated behind his studio counter, which is hung with a handpainted sales pitch: vous SERGE BEAU, CHIC, GENTIL ET FACILE A RECONNAITRE.
1) In our December issue, under Vatican News in Brief, page 25, we referred to embryonic stem cells as the earliest stage of human beings.
Balmy weather brought flowering cherry trees in Tokyo into full bloom on Thursday, the earliest on record, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The earliest section (1533-1558) contains, in three subsections, the earliest letters, poems, and prayers; the second (1558-1572) c ontains the earliest speeches together with subsequent letters, poems, and prayers; and so on for sections three (1572-1587) and four (1588-1603).
So far as reaching the earliest layers of Anglo-Saxon society and reality, we do have the predictable problem of sources, though there are some; even when the sources are available "we won't get to know individual slaves" (40)--which is true, of course, for almost any slave-holding context.
In fact, the study of the earliest decades of African American literature may represent the fastest-changing face of our scholarship.
Giles Worsley, in a stimulating essay on antique influence, suggests that Castle Howard was probably the earliest European landscaped park dotted with buildings.
At the revisit, the quality assurance plan is reviewed to determine the earliest date of compliance.