small hours

hours after midnight; early morning hours: We danced into the small hours.

1830–40 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
small hours
pl n
the small hours the early hours of the morning, after midnight and before dawn

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

small hours

Also, wee hours. The hours following midnight, as in I stayed up working through the small hours, or The parents didn't come home until the wee hours. The adjectives small and wee both refer to the low numbers of those hours (one o'clock, two o'clock, etc.). [c. 1830]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
But the labour worked seven days per week, and into the wee small hours.
The beer's cheap but the flying stories are priceless and last into the small hours of the night.
The large number of guests lingered to the small hours of the night.
The rest of the evening was spent in-onus, recitations and dancing, which were kept up until the small hours of the morning.
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