the small hours (of the night/morning)

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the small hours (of the night/morning)

The very early hours after midnight. I was studying for the exam until the small hours of the morning, and now I can barely keep my eyes open! We all danced until the small hours of the night. I love the small hours, when few are awake and one can be alone with one's thoughts.
See also: hour, night, small

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
References in classic literature ?
If I had kept it about me--I might have had that towel over my face, in the small hours of the morning
Having set off in the small hours of the fourteenth, accompanied by a bugler and two Cossacks, Balashev reached the French outposts at the village of Rykonty, on the Russian side of the Niemen, by dawn.
He went to bed a little after midnight, and was awakened from lurid dreams in the small hours of Monday by the sound of door knockers, feet running in the street, distant drumming, and a clamour of bells.
London, which had gone to bed on Sunday night oblivious and inert, was awakened, in the small hours of Monday morning, to a vivid sense of danger.
In the small hours of the morning a burning spear came hurtling through the darkness and fell with a hiss and a quiver in the ground, only a few feet from where Trent and the boy lay.
taunting the honourable gentleman' with this and with that and with what not, five nights a-week, until the small hours of the morning?
The Tankadere entered the Straits of Fo-Kien, which separate the island of Formosa from the Chinese coast, in the small hours of the night, and crossed the Tropic of Cancer.
Mr Pickering's rare interviews with his subconscious self had happened until now almost entirely in the small hours of the night, when it had popped out to remind him, as he lay sleepless, that all flesh was grass and that he was not getting any younger.
That was the amount of information that the lawyer carried back with him to the great, dark bed on which he tossed to and fro, until the small hours of the morning began to grow large.
The chief pleasure of these philosophers lay in going every Saturday night, when work was done, to Chaseborough, a decayed market-town two or three miles distant; and, returning in the small hours of the next morning, to spend Sunday in sleeping off the dyspeptic effects of the curious compounds sold to them as beer by the monopolizers of the once independent inns.
You accuse us of breaking into Captain von Heumann's state-room during the small hours of this morning, and abstracting from it this confounded pearl.
Up to the small hours of the morning I could hear the clinking of his test-tubes which told me that he was still engaged in his malodorous experiment.
Is there anything more spiritually uplifting than queuing from the small hours of December 26 for the unsurpassable thrill of beating a fellow shopper into a bloody pulp as you wrest a half-price Xbox from their grasp?
Babel Police Chief, Major General Riad Kikhany told reporters on the ground, "The security forces carried out a small security operation in the small hours of Monday night, in the area of Snadeg (35 km North of Babylon) in coordination with Baghdad.
KARACHI -- Seven people were killed and 39 others injured in Karachi's Lyari area in the small hours of Wednesday, a police spokesman said.
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