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adjective \ˈlāt\

Simple Definition of late

  • : existing or happening near the end of a period of time

  • : coming or happening after the usual, expected, or desired time

  • : doing something after the usual time or before others usually do

Full Definition of late


  1. 1 a (1) :  coming or remaining after the due, usual, or proper time <a late spring> (2) :  of, relating to, or imposed because of tardiness b :  of or relating to an advanced stage in point of time or development <the late Middle Ages>; especially :  far advanced toward the close of the day or night <late hours>

  2. 2 a :  living comparatively recently :  now deceased —used of persons <the late John Doe> and often with reference to a specific relationship or status <his late wife> b :  being something or holding some position or relationship recently but not now <the late belligerents> c :  made, appearing, or happening just previous to the present time especially as the most recent of a succession <our late quarrel>

late·ness noun

Examples of late

  1. It happened in late spring.

  2. a word first recorded in the late 17th century

  3. We had a late spring this year.

  4. Hurry up or we'll be late for school.

  5. Their warning was too late to help him.

  6. I've always been a late riser.

  7. He made a donation to the school in memory of his late wife.

Origin of late

Middle English, late, slow, from Old English læt; akin to Old High German laz slow, Old English lǣtan to let

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of late

dead, defunct, deceased, departed, late mean devoid of life. dead applies literally to what is deprived of vital force but is used figuratively of anything that has lost any attribute (as energy, activity, radiance) suggesting life <a dead, listless performance>. defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation <a defunct television series>. deceased , departed , and late apply to persons who have died recently. deceased is the preferred term in legal use <the estate of the deceased>. departed is used usually as a euphemism <our departed sister>. late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status <the company's late president>.




Simple Definition of late

  • : at or near the end of a period of time or a process, activity, series, etc.

  • : after the usual or expected time

Full Definition of late


  1. 1 a :  after the usual or proper time <got to work late> b :  at or to an advanced point of time

  2. 2 :  not long ago :  recently <a writer late of Chicago>

of late
  1. :  in the period shortly or immediately preceding :  recently <has been sick of late>

Examples of late

  1. Late in the year he became ill.

  2. It rained late in the day.

  3. Late in his career he moved to the city.

  4. a word first recorded late in the 17th century

  5. They were trailing by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

  6. The package should be arriving late next week.

  7. He sent in his job application late.

  8. They arrived too late for breakfast.

  9. I like getting up late.

  10. The package arrived late, but better late than never!

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of late

before 12th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up late? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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