the small/early hours

the early hours (of the night/morning)

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

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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 American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the (wee) small hours

the early hours of the morning immediately after midnight.
See also: hour, small
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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