1A person who or thing which is ready or matures early.
In origin probably figurative with reference to early-ripening fruit or vegetables.
2 historical Specifically. An early-ripening variety of peach.
3 dialect An early-ripening onion; a spring onion.
Especially of grains, fruit, or vegetables: coming early to maturity; ripening early in the year.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Zachary Bogan (1625–1659), classical and biblical scholar. From rare + ripe.