I'm looking for a word that indicates that a time interval (or event) will start earlier than previously expected. It should contrast with "to prolong", because that's also something that can happen to the same interval (and "prolongation" is already used in that context).


"last longer"   -> "prolongation"
"start earlier" -> ???


We are sending severe weather warnings to customers, mostly a few hours in advance. Sometimes it happens that the severe weather lasts longer than expected, we call that a "prolongation" internally. In this case we may send "prolongation warnings".

Similarly, it can happen that the severe weather starts earlier than expected. The duration may or may not be affected by this (the event can be longer than we anticipated, have the same duration and just start earlier, or it may even be shorter). I've started calling this an "earlification", which transports the meaning, but is a little lacking in elegance.

Just to clarify, these words are used in internal, informal documentation and source code. They are not used in communication with customers.

  • Better include an example sentence to understand the usage and context better.
    – Kris
    Dec 10, 2015 at 13:04
  • 1
    Advancing is what I'd use. "The program was advanced by an hour." (i.e., Commenced/ was to commence an hour earlier than scheduled.)
    – Kris
    Dec 10, 2015 at 13:05
  • Yeah, at first I got completely the wrong impression. If something is prolonged, then it takes more time. Yet, if something starts early, that doesn't mean it will be shortened.
    – Neptunian
    Dec 10, 2015 at 13:07
  • 2
    Accelerated is the word I would use. In context; "The storm was on an accelerated path". However, I think with any word you chose for an early situation a qualifier would need to made that it only early. Most synonyms would imply a shorter duration as well. However, if the word is only to used internally, anything that you and your team can agree on would be acceptable.
    – Skooba
    Dec 10, 2015 at 14:06
  • 1
    Why not just say it got a "head start."
    – Neptunian
    Dec 10, 2015 at 14:52

6 Answers 6


For severe weather starting earlier: hastening.

to cause (something) to happen more quickly - MW

  • @Skooba And by equally valid definition it means "cause something to occur sooner"
    – macraf
    Dec 10, 2015 at 14:53
  • "Hastening" can most certainly be used in this context, "The commuters were caught off-guard by the hastening onset of the storm." Dec 10, 2015 at 15:10

When something occurs earlier than expected, it is premature.


Consider, early/earliness Oxford French-English Dictionary

early: occurring, developing, or appearing before the expected or usual time

earliness: quality of coming early or earlier in time Wordnet by Farlex

The earliness of the storm caught cars without snow tires or chains


You may consider prematurely

: happening too soon or earlier than usual : happening, arriving, existing, or performed before the proper, usual, or intended time; especially

From Merriam-Webster

I also like the word over-early because it is fun to say, but I don't think people use it much outside of prose


The opposite of postpone, is prepone

Bring (something) forward to an earlier date or time - Oxford

  • 2
    Be aware that this is not a word used by almost any native speakers anywhere. It is dialectal slang.
    – tchrist
    Dec 10, 2015 at 14:42
  • In fact the ODO entry referenced specifically mentions Indian, and it would be worthwhile mentioning that limited regional use in your answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:37

I think 'antecipate' (antecipation) and 'precipitate' (precipitation) are good words for that.


You can see their definitions here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anticipation and here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/precipitation

  • 1
    Actually it's "anticipate / anticipation".... Also, can you add some examples, definitions, or other support for your answer?
    – Hellion
    Dec 10, 2015 at 15:46

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