af·​ter | \ ˈaf-tər How to pronounce after (audio) \

Definition of after

 (Entry 1 of 7)

: following in time or place : afterward, behind, later we arrived shortly after returned 20 years after

Definition of after (Entry 2 of 7)

1a : behind in place people lined up one after another
b(1) : subsequent to in time or order 20 minutes after 6
(2) : subsequent to and in view of after all our advice
2 used to indicate the object of a stated or implied actiongo after goldwas asking after you
3 : so as to resemble: such as
a : in accordance with He's a man after my own heart.
b : with the name of or a name derived from that of named after his father
c : in the characteristic manner of : in imitation of writing after the manner of Hemingway

Definition of after (Entry 3 of 7)

: subsequently to the time when We will come after we make plans.



Definition of after (Entry 4 of 7)

1 : later in time in after years
2 [Middle English, probably from afte aft entry 1 + -er -er entry 1] : located toward the rear and especially toward the stern of a ship or tail of an aircraft an after cabin
af·​ter | \ ˈäf-tər How to pronounce after (audio) \

Definition of after (Entry 5 of 7)

chiefly Irish
used with a present participle to indicate action completed and especially just completedthe poor old man is after dying on me— J. M. Synge



Definition of after (Entry 6 of 7)



Definition of after- (Entry 7 of 7)

1a used as the first part of a compound to indicate an event or entity that follows or results from the thing denoted by the second part of the compoundafterbirthafterlifeafternoon
b used as the first part of a compound to indicate an event or entity of the same nature as the thing denoted by the second part of the compound but which follows that event or entity and is less intense or significantafterglowaftershockafterthought
2 the rear or lower partafterdeck

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Synonyms & Antonyms for after

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Preposition

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Preposition

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of after in a Sentence

Adverb Don't tell them until after. I expected her then, but she arrived the week after. He ate lunch and left just after. Preposition We arrived shortly after six o'clock. He returned after 20 years. before, during, and after the war He left just after nightfall. He finished the exam after me. Call me after your arrival. She was going to arrive tomorrow but I'm now expecting her the day after tomorrow instead. He left after an hour. How can you say that after what happened last night? It's the highest mountain after Mount Everest. Conjunction He returned after 20 years had passed. Don't tell them until after they've had dinner. He left just after the show ended. Call me after you arrive. He finished the exam after I did. It happened not long after he graduated from college. Adjective had heard that the after section of an aircraft is safer in the event of a crash in after years the government set up a special fund for disabled veterans of the war
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Soon after, the companies went bankrupt — leaving gaps in emergency response across the northeast. ProPublica, "This Doctors Group Is Owned by a Private Equity Firm and Repeatedly Sued the Poor Until We Called Them," 28 Nov. 2019 Duhaney issued a statement soon after, expressing sympathy for the man's family and praising those who spent more than a day searching for him in the rubble. Sharon Coolidge,, "'We will do whatever we can': Inside the search for the man buried in building collapse," 27 Nov. 2019 But tear gas was again fired soon after, breaking the momentary cease fire. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong police and students are fighting a war in one of the city’s top universities," 12 Nov. 2019 There was never a once-upon-a-time in American life, and there will never be a happily-ever-after. Jon Meacham, Time, "The Impeachment Inquiry Is About More Than Donald Trump — It’s About Who We Are as Americans," 7 Nov. 2019 Our nation’s capital is a city in love with baseball now, and counting on Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler to narrate the summers — happily ever after. Dom Amore,, "Dom Amore: Windsor’s Dave Jageler helped provide the soundtrack for Nationals’ storybook championship," 4 Nov. 2019 An adjoining three-story manor house was built soon after, following the sale of the iron works and surrounding property to members of the Ellicott family, for whom Ellicott City is named. Mike Klingaman,, "With roots in the 18th century, this Elkridge spot could be considered Howard County’s oldest restaurant," 28 Oct. 2019 Andromeda married Perseus as a reward and the couple lived happily ever after … until Perseus was killed in drunken swordfight at a local bar. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Mike Lynch: The flying horse of autumn is on a rescue mission," 20 Oct. 2019 Still, Maleficent had the kind of definitive fairy-tale ending required of a Sleeping Beauty adaptation: The princess (Elle Fanning) awakens, the bad guys are disposed of, and everyone gets to live happily ever after. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Disney Delivers a Truly Bizarre Sleeping Beauty Sequel," 16 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Brandon McManus made a 30-yard field goal, but then missed only his third career point-after attempt (out of 175 tries). Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Rating the Broncos: Packers don’t blitz Flacco … and didn’t have to," 23 Sep. 2019 An unsportsmanlike penalty forced a 35-yard point-after attempt, which was blocked at the line of scrimmage. Mitch Stephens,, "Pittsburg holds off Antioch in 101st Big Little Game," 2 Nov. 2019 Matt Bryant missed a point-after attempt with 1:53 left to play that would have tied the game. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Auburn NFL roundup: Dee Ford helps 49ers go to 5-0," 14 Oct. 2019 Glenelg mishandled the snap on the point-after attempt, however, and the Owls remained one score behind. Megan Woodward,, "Football: Garrett Deltuva coming into his own as Manchester Valley’s quarterback," 30 Sep. 2019 In the game’s final minute, Cleveland had a chance to tie the game with a late touchdown and point-after attempt, but four pass attempts from goal-to-go distance ended with a Baker Mayfield end zone interception. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Browns fall short against Rams in prime time: What they’re saying about it on social media," 23 Sep. 2019 Kicker Brandon McManus misses the point-after attempt … but there’s an off-side penalty on Chicago. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Talking Points: Crazy finish allows Chicago to win," 15 Sep. 2019 Peter Serafinowicz took on the role of the Tick, with Griffin Newman playing Arthur, Jackie Earle Haley as the Terror, and Scott Speiser stealing scene after scene as the vigilante anti-hero, Overkill. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Ars celebrates 25 years of The Tick by picking our top ten favorite episodes," 10 Sep. 2019 Game-winner: After the unsuccessful point-after attempt by Park Crossing in overtime, St. Paul’s lined up in a standard formation, with Graves-Billups lined up on the right and running a slant pattern. al, "St. Paul’s earns dramatic overtime victory, beats Park Crossing," 31 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Here are a few vineyards on Pritchard Hill that are the most sought-after. Nicole Fritton, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Pritchard Hill is Napa Valley’s Most Exclusive Zip Code," 15 Nov. 2019 Exclusive showcase of urban living: the befores, the durings and the afters. Luann Gibbs,, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Sept. 16-22," 16 Sep. 2019 The borderlands south of Arizona include some of the most profitable, and sought-after, smuggling routes, leading to disputes among the cartels. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Ambush in Mexico: What we know about the deaths, the LeBaron family, the investigation and Trump," 5 Nov. 2019 Biden didn’t join the 2020 presidential race until April, months after his rivals had set up camp and secured the most sought-after hires., "Biden’s effort criticized by top Iowa Democrats," 30 Oct. 2019 Brim-Edwards told board members on Tuesday that Portland Public Schools couldn’t find any similar policies to model its own after. oregonlive, "Portland teachers are now explicitly banned from inviting students to their homes, giving them car rides," 16 Oct. 2019 Luckily, there were plenty of other afters to choose from. Andrea Domanick, Billboard, "The Best & Worst of CRSSD 2019, a Boutique Electronic Festival for the Streaming Era," 3 Oct. 2019 Countless before and afters showcase just how life-changing this treatment can be. Braelyn Wood,, "I Used the Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 Treatment—and My Hair Has Never Felt Better," 9 Aug. 2019 The show's Twitter account kept up the gag about Duchess Meghan's happily-ever-afters, posting a GIF of the line from the episode. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "'Suits' made a not-so-subtle quip about Duchess Meghan's new life," 8 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'after.' 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 after


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Auxiliary verb

1778, in the meaning defined above


circa 1902, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for after


Middle English after, efter, going back to Old English æfter, going back to Germanic *after- (whence Old Saxon & Old High German aftar "after, behind," Old Norse eptir, Gothic aptaro), perhaps from Indo-European *h1epi-, *h1opi- "on, at" + *-ter-, suffix of separation and distinctness — more at epi-

Note: The initial element has alternatively been assigned to Indo-European *h2epo-, "(away) from" (see of entry 1); cf. Sanskrit apataram, "farther off." In a Germanic context the forms may well have interacted with each other.


Middle English after, efter, going back to Old English æfter, identical with the adverb æfter after entry 1 when governing an object


Middle English, elliptically for after that, from after after entry 2 + that that entry 2


independent use of after-

Auxiliary verb

after entry 2, copying Irish prepositional constructions tar éis, i ndiaidh, etc.


by shortening


Middle English after, going back to Old English æfter, form in composition of adverbial æfter after entry 1

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Time Traveler for after

Time Traveler

The first known use of after was before the 12th century

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Statistics for after

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“After.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for after


How to pronounce after- (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of after

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: following in time : at a later time

English Language Learners Definition of after (Entry 2 of 4)

: at a time following (something or someone) : later than (something or someone)
US used to describe a time following a specified hour
: following and because of (something)

English Language Learners Definition of after (Entry 3 of 4)

: later than the time that : later than when



English Language Learners Definition of after (Entry 4 of 4)

old-fashioned + literary : later in time


af·​ter | \ ˈaf-tər How to pronounce after (audio) \

Kids Definition of after

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: following in time or place : at a later time He ate and left immediately after.

Kids Definition of after (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : behind in time or place They got there after me. after lunch
2 : for the reason of catching, seizing, or getting Run after the ball. They're going after the championship.
3 : following in order or in a series The number 20 comes before 21 and after 19.
4 : following the actions or departure of Don't expect me to clean up after you.
5 : with the name of He's named after his father.

Kids Definition of after (Entry 3 of 3)

: following the time when I opened the door after she knocked.

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More from Merriam-Webster on after

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for after

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with after

Spanish Central: Translation of after

Nglish: Translation of after for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of after for Arabic Speakers

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