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

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 ?
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.
The periodical visits of the trooper to these rooms, however, in the course of his patrolling is an assurance of protection and company both to mistress and maid, which renders them very acceptable in the small hours of the night. Whenever he is heard advancing, they both make some little decorative preparation to receive him; at other times they divide their watches into short scraps of oblivion and dialogues not wholly free from acerbity, as to whether Miss Dedlock, sitting with her feet upon the fender, was or was not falling into the fire when rescued (to her great displeasure) by her guardian genius the maid.
All this happened in the small hours of the night and has been detailed in a report to the home secretary by the prisons department.
And even in the small hours of the night, social media was awash with people offering help, thoughts and prayers.
Lights flashing from street shops into the small hours of the night. Throngs of people going up and down in their buildings/ Llate dinners and early morning meetings.
For hours more, my creative mind is in turmoil as I ponder; when I drive, when I stare at the Christmas tree joyfully lighting up our living room, when I lie awake in the small hours of the night in my bed.
If you find yourself toiling into the small hours of the night for your job it may be a good time to take a clear and calculated look at where you are and where you want to be.
I HAVE read a number of articles in your paper, and had leaflets posted through my door, about a propaganda campaign from the local Labour Party who are opposed to a proposal to switch off street lights in the small hours of the night.
And the authors of the book Rendezvous With Destiny: History of the 101st Airborne Division describe the incident from the perspective of the 101st paratroopers who were observing and listening from the edge of town: "The lone cart had crossed the causeway from [Sainte-C6me-du-Mont], missed the right turn at the end of the causeway [Writers' Note: The cart had not missed the turn; the French driver knew where he was going.] and in the small hours of the night, had continued on the highway to Carentan.
Her name was Kalina Krumova, and she accompanied us throughout the small hours of the night and into the morning.
Abu Dhabi: Fruit and vegetable sellers in Al Mina will be serving customers into the small hours of the night, following a decision by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City to keep the market open between midnight and 6am during Ramadan.
The Aberdeen-born Eurythmics star admitted: "Every time I went on stage, I'd have a knot in my stomach just thinking about it, particularly during the small hours of the night before.
Or perhaps more usually till the small hours of the night, for the tribesman is an individualist and is never prone to take on long night watches and possible dawn dangers for other people, and so sneaks off well before daylight to a little well-earned sleep and also to escape the attentions of the piquets, which will be looking out for intruders as soon as they can look out.
100 Club, Oxford Street, W1 (020 7636 0933) THE KILLERS Hard Rock Calling is the festival for those who don't like overflowing toilets and people peeing on their tent in the wee small hours of the night. Now, for the first time, the festival in Hyde Park, London, spreads to three days with The Killers announced as the headliners on the Friday night with support from The Kooks.
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