[adv] 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"
[adv] before now; "why didn't you tell me in the first place?"
[adv] comparatives of `soon' or `early'; "Come a little sooner, if you can"; "came earlier than I expected"
[adj] (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"
[adj] occurring earlier in time; "on earlier occasions"