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 The Frankfurt connection Germany’s signals intelligence agency—the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND—has had an information-sharing deal with the NSA since soon after 9/11. David Meyer, Fortune, "German intelligence can no longer freely spy on the world’s Internet traffic, top court rules," 19 May 2020 The embezzling scheme was exposed by a union member who filed a complaint with the statewide Indiana State Teachers Association, which soon after launched an audit. Vic Ryckaert, The Indianapolis Star, "Former IPS union president receives 16 months in federal prison for embezzling $154,000," 19 May 2020 But soon after, facing international pressure and chiding from the United States, Abdullah showed a willingness to compromise again — much to the anger of some supporters. Mujib Mashal,, "Afghan rivals sign power-sharing deal as political crisis subsides," 17 May 2020 Soon after, Smith apologized for seeming to make light of Garcia’s military service during a video chat with supporters. Los Angeles Times, "During the pandemic, Republicans see a rare political opportunity in California," 10 May 2020 Cleveland police arrived just after 3:45 p.m. and found Williams shot multiple times in the head and body. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Gunman chased man into Cleveland yard before fatally shooting him, police say," 14 Apr. 2020 The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded just after 7 p.m. Friday to check on a residence at in the 5000 block of Brandywine Dr., according to a release from the department. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Police investigate southwest-side death as possible connection to deaths in Maryland," 11 Apr. 2020 Three of the four deadliest tornadoes in Tennessee's history hit after 11 p.m., when many people were asleep, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Marsh. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "March will be a busy month for tornadoes, forecasters warn," 3 Mar. 2020 Letorryne James Taylor was declared dead after being found unresponsive in his cell just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Madison County sheriff’s office, which operates the jail. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Cause unknown in death of 24-year-old man at Madison County jail," 27 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Exotic was not available to comment on the numerous allegations made against him during the after show. Rosy Cordero,, "Tiger King after show 'The Tiger King and I' puts Joe Exotic under the microscope," 12 Apr. 2020 Iowa trailed 18-14 after one quarter but made 11 of 13 shots – missing its only two 3-point attempts – to outscore Purdue 25-15 in the second quarter for a 39-33 halftime lead. Staff Reports, Indianapolis Star, "State college basketball: IU women bounce back with win," 9 Feb. 2020 The point-after attempt failed, leaving Heights up 6-0 with 3:38 left in the first quarter. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Defense, late TDs send Memorial to area playoffs," 18 Nov. 2019 Her colorist, Jack Martin, revealed this and more in his latest Instagram post, which shows a before-and-after look at Osbourne's transformation. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Sharon Osbourne Just Debuted a White Hair Makeover," 18 Feb. 2020 Matt Ruffolo's point-after attempt gave the Wildcats a 7-6 lead with 6:17 left in the first quarter. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Record-setting Lynn Bowden performance leads Kentucky to blowout of Louisville," 30 Nov. 2019 Iowa congresswoman Cindy Axne endorsed Joe Biden for president, giving the former vice president a sought-after vote of confidence with just nine days until the Feb. 3 first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Biden snags coveted endorsement from swing-district Iowa congresswoman Cindy Axne," 25 Jan. 2020 And, conveniently, a number of states changed the minimum wage during the period the researchers were studying, providing a before-and-after experiment. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Higher minimum wages linked to reduced suicide rate," 12 Jan. 2020 Indiana missed a point-after attempt that of course would’ve changed the math at the end of the game. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "'Why not us?' How does Indiana football outrun its history after Gator Bowl letdown?," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun James’ decision to withdraw from the portal after briefly considering a transfer solidifies this as one of the Big Ten’s toughest two-deep backfields. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Here's an early look at IU football's 2020 offensive depth chart," 16 Apr. 2020 Jay Welborn, a partner in an ownership group with four Piggly Wiggly stores in Tuscaloosa and Northport, explained the economics behind two of the most sought-after products anywhere. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Hand sanitizer? Toilet paper? Local grocer explains why they could be back soon.," 4 Apr. 2020 The couple’s reception at an Italian villa becomes a drunken, disastrous lab experiment carried out by an unseen oracle (Penny Ryder) who wants to prove that happily-ever-after is merely a game of chance. Amy Nicholson, New York Times, "‘Love Wedding Repeat’ Review: A Tumble Down the Aisle," 10 Apr. 2020 That makes Howard a consensus first-team All-American after also being honored by the Sporting News, Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette's Markus Howard a consensus first-team All-American with NABC, AP, Sporting News and USBWA honors," 24 Mar. 2020 Best Buy, which is facing increasing competition from Amazon, is holding its own after aggressively expanding its online operations, speeding up deliveries, and making visits to its stores for customers a better experience., "El Jefe’s loses bid to stay open past midnight," 27 Feb. 2020 What Wilson's after is a treatise on authenticity, and a defense of Swift's pursuit of it despite the deeply manicured nature of her existence. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch (and skip) in theaters and on Netflix this weekend," 31 Jan. 2020 As Damet said shortly afters Jans' departure, the plan for the 2020 club has essentially stayed the same. Pat Brennan,, "FC Cincinnati media day: GM Gerard Nijkamp remains confident in the 2020 roster after coaching change," 25 Feb. 2020 In almost every before-and-after design show, there are a reliable set of materials chosen for the big kitchen reveal. Kelly Dawson, House Beautiful, "What Are Shaker Cabinets?," 28 Nov. 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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“After.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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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