the small/early hours

(redirected from early hours)

the small hours (of the night)

 and the wee hours (of the night)
the hours immediately after midnight. The dance went on into the small hours of the night. Jim goes to bed in the wee hours and gets up at lunchtime.
See also: hour, small

small hours

Also, wee hours. The hours following midnight, as in I stayed up working through the small hours, or The parents didn't come home until the wee hours. The adjectives small and wee both refer to the low numbers of those hours (one o'clock, two o'clock, etc.). [c. 1830]
See also: hour, small

the small hours

or

the wee hours

COMMON The small hours or the wee hours is the time from one o'clock in the morning until about five or six o'clock in the morning. They were arrested in the small hours of Saturday morning. That first night back, Jennifer and I sat up in bed talking into the wee hours.
See also: hour, small

the (wee) small hours

the early hours of the morning immediately after midnight.
See also: hour, small

the ˈsmall/ˈearly hours

(also the wee (small) ˈhours) the period of time very early in the morning, soon after midnight: He died in the early hours of Saturday morning.We stayed up talking into the small hours.
See also: early, hour, small
References in classic literature ?
With an alacrity beyond the common impulse of a spirit which yet was never indifferent to the credit of doing every thing well and attentively, with the real goodwill of a mind delighted with its own ideas, did she then do all the honours of the meal, and help and recommend the minced chicken and scalloped oysters, with an urgency which she knew would be acceptable to the early hours and civil scruples of their guests.
Further questioned, he described his awakening in the early hours of the morning, and the circumstances of his mother's death.
Maybe I understood because I saw her in that early hour of the morning when even the stony Memnon sings, in that mystical light of the young day when divine exiled things, condemned to rough bondage through the noon, are for a short magical hour their own celestial selves, their unearthly glory as yet unhidden by any earthly disguise.
The captain was convinced, however, that the stream was too insignificant to drain so wide a valley and the adjacent mountains: he encamped, therefore, at an early hour, on its borders, that he might take the whole of the next day to reach the main river; which he presumed to flow between him and the distant range of western hills.
My messenger brought back a polite answer, inviting me to visit him at an early hour in the afternoon.
For especially wicked am I in the morning: at the early hour when the pail rattleth at the well, and horses neigh warmly in grey lanes:--
On her way home at an early hour when she met no one but bricklayers going to work or men sweeping the street, and everybody within the houses was still asleep, Natasha experienced a feeling new to her, a sense of the possibility of correcting her faults, the possibility of a new, clean life, and of happiness.
At an early hour this morning she secretly left the house, and she has not been heard of since.
Thus did Sancho soliloquise on the day of their departure, as Don Quixote, who had the night before taken leave of the duke and duchess, coming out made his appearance at an early hour in full armour in the courtyard of the castle.
Everything had an empty air, and everyone whom I met looked careworn and preoccupied, and no wonder, for who would choose to walk abroad at such an early hour, and in such weather?
Delvin's retreat, Emily retired at an early hour, fatigued by her long journey.
With more kisses, and hugs, and tears, than many young gentlemen who start upon their travels, and leave well-stocked homes behind them, would deem within the bounds of probability (if matter so low could be herein set down), Kit left the house at an early hour next morning, and set out to walk to Finchley; feeling a sufficient pride in his appearance to have warranted his excommunication from Little Bethel from that time forth, if he had ever been one of that mournful congregation.
At an early hour in the evening the Farival twins were prevailed upon to play the piano.
The post to the south went out on the next day; and the early hour of the morning at which the messenger called for our letters made it a matter of ordinary convenience to write overnight.
On the banks of this river, they encamped on the 18th of September, at an early hour.
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