the small hours


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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

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 ?
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.
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.
The night before I sailed, Santos and the captain were aboard with me till the small hours.
Or in the small hours I might make a confidant of my father, and when I had finished reading he would say thoughtfully, 'That lassie is very natural.
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.
As a mother of a five-monthold baby it is unlikely the Duchess will be celebrating into the small hours.
Simply work into the small hours while your children sleep.
KARACHI -- Seven people were killed and 39 others injured in Karachi's Lyari area in the small hours of Wednesday, a police spokesman said.
In a white dress by Kaufman Franco and Saint Laurent heels, the petite star partied until the small hours - despite telling us she'd spent six hours at the mall on her one-day visit to the UAE.
Summary: A diesel tanker truck went up in flames as it was being filled with petroleum in the small hours of Monday.
A TOWN centre bar has lost its licence following a string of violent incidents in the small hours.
Coroner Wallace Bain said the case raised the issue of "what a 14-year-old boy is doing out on the streets of Taupo in the small hours of the morning with alcohol and predisposed, it seems, to such violent behaviour".