\ ˈaft How to pronounce aft (audio) \

Definition of aft

 (Entry 1 of 5)

: near, toward, or in the stern of a ship or the tail of an aircraft called all hands aft



Definition of aft (Entry 2 of 5)

: rearward, after sense 2 the aft decks


Definition of aft (Entry 3 of 5)

Scottish variant of

Definition of aft (Entry 4 of 5)


Definition of AFT (Entry 5 of 5)

1 American Federation of Teachers
2 automatic fine-tuning

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Synonyms & Antonyms for aft

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of aft in a Sentence

Adverb We stood on the ship's deck facing aft. The plane's exits are located fore and aft. Adjective the ship's fore and aft cabins The fore and aft exits can both be used in an emergency.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On the aft deck the Alucia crew rolls out Nadir, a three-person submarine rigged with half a dozen cameras and lights. James Nestor, Scientific American, "Life on the Rocks," 12 Feb. 2018 Smoke billowed from the aft part of the ship, where the navigation bridge was set behind the nets and cranes—great dense, dark clouds of it, interspersed with orange flames. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, "2034, Part I: Peril in the South China Sea," 26 Jan. 2021 Loss of the horizontal stabilizer would result in the aft (rear) part of the airplane tumbling forward causing forces that would break the fuselage apart. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Can a plane make an emergency landing without its 'tail wings?'," 21 Jan. 2021 Boeing in August grounded eight 787s after discovering quality defects at the join of the aft fuselage. oregonlive, "Boeing speeds up timeline for consolidating 787 production," 27 Dec. 2020 Duluth, MinnesotaOn a mild September morning on the aft deck of the research vessel Blue Heron, Donn Branstrator sniffed the contents of a sampling bottle that some graduate students had just hauled up from the depths of Lake Superior. Tim Folger, Environment, "This ferocious water flea is mauling the Great Lakes," 2 Dec. 2020 Unlike a conventional engine mounted on the aft end of a rocket, the solar thermal engine that the researchers are studying would be integrated with the spacecraft’s shield. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "A Solar-Powered Rocket Might Be Our Ticket to Interstellar Space," 20 Nov. 2020 The periscope swings aft and focuses on the top of the rudder. Jim Wilson, Popular Mechanics, "Run Silent, Run Deep: PM Meets the Deadly Seawolf Submarine," 1 Dec. 2020 By making a kick motion underneath either sill just aft of the front doors, the Sienna's sliders will open and close to your foot's command. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "2021 Toyota Sienna's 8 Family-Friendliest Features," 28 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aft.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aft


1580, in the meaning defined above


1667, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aft


Middle English afte "back," going back to Old English æftan "behind, from behind," going back to Germanic *aftana (whence Old Saxon at aftan "last," Middle High German aften "behind, later," Old Norse aptan "from behind, behind," Gothic aftana "from behind"), from *aft- "behind" (probably secondarily from *after- after entry 1, parsed as aft- + -er-) + -ana "from (a place)"

Note: The suffix -(a)na has been traced to a putative Indo-European *-nē (in pre-laryngealist terms), to be found in Sanskrit vinā "without," Latin superne "from above," inferne "from below," Old Church Slavic vŭně "outside." All these compared elements can be given other explanations, however, and the origin of the suffix is not clear.


derivative of aft entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Aft.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for aft



English Language Learners Definition of aft

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: towards or at the back part of a boat, ship, or airplane



English Language Learners Definition of aft (Entry 2 of 2)

: located at the back of a boat, ship, or airplane


\ ˈaft How to pronounce aft (audio) \

Kids Definition of aft

: toward or at the back part of a ship or the tail of an aircraft We stood on the ship's deck facing aft.

More from Merriam-Webster on aft

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aft

Nglish: Translation of aft for Spanish Speakers

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