What Does Bright and Early Mean?

Bright and Early Meaning

Definition: Early morning; dawn.

This expression refers to the earliest hours of the day when the sun first rises above the horizon. Bright can refer to the light of the sun and also the energy that is implied in being awake so early.

Usually, someone who wakes up bright and early has a cheerful disposition about himself or herself and is eager to get started on the day. This person has usually awoken for a specific purpose with a specific task, job, or event in mind.

Origin of Bright and Early

This expression has origins in the 19th century, and it refers to the dawning sun being the first bright light of the day. In 1866, Hans Christian Andersen wrote about this phenomenon in What the Moon Saw: And Other Tales:

  • And, as I looked dreamily towards the clouds, the sky became bright.

bright n earlyBright also has meanings that include full of promise, having lots of light, and characterized by happiness or gladness, all of which are implied when waking up bright and early.

Early has long since been synonymous with morning, and we can find a clear example of this from the 1902 illustrated guide How to Sing by Lilli Lehmann:

  • Students of singing should use the early morning hours, and fill their days with the various branches of their study.

Bright and early were used together by the mid- to late-1800s, and they were already well into popular culture by the early 1900s, as evidenced by a 1918 short comedy that was titled, “Bright and Early.”

Examples of Bright and Early

bright earlyIn the modern day, people use bright and early in reference to the early morning hours of the day. For example,

  • We have to get up bright and early tomorrow to make it to the airport on time.


  • The test is bright and early Saturday morning, so you can’t go out Friday night.

More Examples

  • Several Mumbaikers will rise bright and early to celebrate the nation’s 68th Republic Day on Thursday. –Times of India
  • The Nosara march begins bright and early at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. –The Tico Times


Bright and early refers to the morning hours, and someone who is awake then usually feels optimistic and alert and ready for the task at hand.