earlier in time; previously; "I had known her before"; "as I said before"; "he called me the day before but your call had come even earlier"; "her parents had died four years earlier"; "I mentioned that problem earlier"
(comparative and superlative of `early') more early than; most early; "a fashion popular in earlier times"; "his earlier work reflects the influence of his teacher"; "Verdi's earliest and most raucous opera"
having existed from the beginning; in an earliest or original stage or state; "aboriginal forests"; "primal eras before the appearance of life on earth"; "the forest primeval"; "primordial matter"; "primordial forms of life"
later than usual or than expected; "the train arrived late"; "we awoke late"; "the children came late to school"; "notice came so tardily that we almost missed the deadline"; "I belatedly wished her a happy birthday"
belonging to times long past especially of the historical period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire; "ancient history"; "ancient civilizations such as those of the Etruscans and Sumerians"; "ancient Greece"