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 action go 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

— see also take after



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 Ireland
used with a present participle to indicate action completed and especially just completed the 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 compound afterbirthafterlifeafternoon
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 significant afterglowaftershockafterthought
2 the rear or lower part afterdeck

Synonyms & Antonyms for after

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Preposition

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Preposition

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb In general, the peak period of virus shedding starts about a day or two before symptoms appear and continues two or three days after. Lena H. Sun And Joel Achenbach, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Aug. 2022 The Grammy Award-winning singer and flutist rereleased a new version of the song on all streaming platforms shortly after. Lauryn Azu, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2022 These were players who would be commemorated, soon after, in statuary outside the stadium, or players who deserved to be. New York Times, 29 July 2022 And if that love and validation come in the form of an open relationship that feels good to all parties involved, then ethical nonmonogamy might be your happily ever after. Marie Southard Ospina, SELF, 28 July 2022 But unfortunately, the polish began peeling within a couple of days and was completely gone soon after. Theresa Holland,, 12 July 2022 Personality, character and fit appear to be the primary traits the Blazers are after, and Cronin and Billups said that both Grant and Payton check those boxes with ease. oregonlive, 7 July 2022 That same few feet of real estate where Suzuki's hit landed were front and center not long after. Curt Hogg, Journal Sentinel, 4 July 2022 That time of bliss was important, because shortly after, their wedding plans would be upended because of COVID. Essence, 28 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition The number on ventilators fell by five, to 16, after rising by one a day earlier. Andy Davis, Arkansas Online, 3 Aug. 2022 He was eliminated in week 8 but went on a brief public pursuit of Kelley Flanagan after her split from Peter Weber. Dory Jackson,, 2 Aug. 2022 With Hader likely gone after the 2023 season as a free agent, some fans like that the Brewers got something in return for him, including a ready-now high-leverage reliever in Rogers and a high-ceiling prospect in Ruiz. Curt Hogg, Journal Sentinel, 2 Aug. 2022 Uber jumped 14% in premarket after the ridesharing company said rides increased by 24% and revenue more than doubled in the second quarter as as Americans headed back to offices and are going out more as anxiety over COVID-19 eases. CBS News, 2 Aug. 2022 The report comes after the government executed four democracy activists last month, in the first such killings in more than 30 years. Emanuel Stoakes, NBC News, 2 Aug. 2022 Messages of support poured in from lawmakers shortly after Biden’s address. Amy Cheng, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2022 But just week after week, people were tweeting at me. Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Bradley was exposed to the deadly drug after an inmate snuck it into the county jail. Fox News, 2 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The actor's post came with a series of photos from the process, including a before-and-after split of him on the show. Giovana Gelhoren,, 22 July 2022 While some speculation cited the trend as an after effect of being quarantined at home where bras weren’t needed, the braless look has come and gone many times in previous decades, including the early 2000s. Olivia O'bryon, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 The aftermath of their after-dark frenzy was captured in a video posted on Twitter by resident Ted Hunting. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Aug. 2021 Under the 50/30/20 budget, all your must-have expenses — including housing, utilities, transportation, insurance and minimum loan payments — would be 50% or less of your after-tax income (your gross income minus income and payroll taxes). Liz Weston, oregonlive, 27 Feb. 2021 Half of your after-tax income goes toward needs (housing, food, utilities), 30% to wants and 20% is for saving/paying down debts. Star Tribune, 23 Jan. 2021 Exotic was not available to comment on the numerous allegations made against him during the after show. Rosy Cordero,, 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, 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, 18 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bad songs can be double offenders, first with their lyrics and then their after-effects. Liza Lentini, SPIN, 20 July 2022 Splitting things in two also allowed Benton to make a quick change for the after-parties. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 4 May 2022 Neither Swift nor Alwyn were seen at the Oscars ceremony or its after-parties. ELLE, 4 Apr. 2022 After showing up and showing out for the Oscars last Sunday and all the major after-parties, many of your favorites phoned it in for the Grammys or went solo. Victoria Uwumarogie, Essence, 4 Apr. 2022 After the SOC Awards Celebration, virtual after-parties were hosted by the nominees in breakout rooms. Wyatte Grantham-philips, Variety, 5 Mar. 2022 Not surprisingly, the after-effects and consequences of COVID take center stage. Cathy Huyghe, Forbes, 30 June 2022 Over College Avenue, the old bridge and partially complete new bridge are both visible, offering a rare before-and-after look at the height comparison. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 3 June 2022 In other words, analytics focuses on the before, and mathematical optimization focuses on the after. Edward Rothberg, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About after

Time Traveler for after

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near after




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for after

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“After.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for after


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on after

Nglish: Translation of after for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of after for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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