1 of 5


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


2 of 5


: rearward, after sense 2
the aft decks


3 of 5

Scottish variant of oft


4 of 5

abbreviation (1)



5 of 5


American Federation of Teachers
automatic fine-tuning

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Replacing Avocette III’s 86-year-old Sterling gas motors with twin 435 hp D6 Volvo Penta IPS diesels—and mounting them 22 feet farther aft. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 30 Apr. 2021 Open exterior decks forward and aft allow for a steady sea breeze, as the owner—who was last aboard his yacht in the summer of 2021—used to regularly enjoy. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 10 Feb. 2023 This meant the buoyancy tanks needed to shift aft, along with the battery banks and main electronics. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 14 Oct. 2022 The TenNine’s most immediately apparent design feature, its aft-protruding sole, is also its most important. Outside Online, 1 Nov. 2020 First developed by Wien Air Alaska, the plane featured a flexible partition that could be moved forward or aft, depending on the amount of cargo being shipped. Scott McMurren, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Feb. 2022 Functioning as a sea-view terrace complete with aft-facing sofa and glass bulwarks, its elevated position also increases the ceiling height in the semi-open beach club on the deck below. Richard Alban, Robb Report, 10 Sep. 2021
At the opposite end, the aft cockpit is perfect for alfresco dining or lounging. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 7 Feb. 2023 In the immediate aftermath, Russian flight controllers attempted to use the European robotic arm, attached to the Russian segment of the station, to observe the aft end of the Soyuz where the leak occurred. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 16 Dec. 2022 Outside, meanwhile, the aft deck pulls focus with a plunge pool, a shaded dining area and plush lounge seating. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 30 Jan. 2023 Far Far Away has an aft-heavy profile, with guest areas placed near the stern while, like with the new 41, a large tender deck is situated forward. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 13 Jan. 2023 If booking a suite, note that aft ones possess private outdoor hot tubs with amazing views. Janice Wald Henderson, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Apr. 2022 Other effective changes include large sliding-glass doors that create a flow between the main salon and the exterior aft deck. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 23 Dec. 2022 The leak appears to have originated in an external cooling loop located at the aft end of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 15 Dec. 2022 And on its high-speed setting, the rear ventilation blower, mounted on the headliner just aft of the front seats, sounds like a Huey gunship on takeoff. John Phillips, Car and Driver, 28 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aft.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1580, in the meaning defined above


1667, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aft was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near aft

Cite this Entry

“Aft.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: near, toward, or in the stern of a ship or the tail of an aircraft

More from Merriam-Webster on aft

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!