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



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 1aft + -er 1-er ] : 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 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for after

Synonyms: Adverb

afterward (or afterwards), later, latterly, subsequently, thereafter

Synonyms: Preposition

après, behind, below, following, next to, past

Synonyms: Adjective

aft, back, hind, hinder, hindmost, posterior, rear, rearward

Antonyms: Adverb

afore [chiefly dialect], ahead, antecedently, anteriorly, before, beforehand, earlier, previously

Antonyms: Preposition

afore [chiefly dialect], ahead of, before, ere, of, previous to, prior to, to

Antonyms: Adjective

anterior, fore, forward, front, frontal

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Examples of after in a Sentence


Don't tell them until after. I expected her then, but she arrived the week after. He ate lunch and left just after.


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.


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.


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

President Trump ran in 2016 on populism and nationalism, going after immigration as part of the cause for people's woes in the working class across this country. NBC News, "Meet the Press - August 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 Speaking of addressing something, this summer’s Deer Park Bronco All-Star team was hurt by outfielders who were tentative in going after fly balls, preferring to let the catchable fly balls drop in front of them. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park Bronco All-Stars eliminated from South Zone with 8-4 loss," 29 July 2019 Thomas had to be restrained from going after Brown as the fight was breaking up. Dan Labbe,, "Entire Browns team faces consequences after fight breaks out in training camp," 28 July 2019 Because foreign governments, trying to create divisiveness, want Americans to argue and will go after low hanging fruit, like pizza toppings. Jacob Ward, NBC News, "U.S. cybersecurity agency uses pineapple pizza to demonstrate vulnerability to foreign influence," 27 July 2019 Many startups are going after limited visions of autonomous vehicles, focusing on trucking, or short distance shuttles, or moving food through the bike lane. Alex Davies, WIRED, "GM’s Cruise Rolls Back Its Target for Self-Driving Cars," 24 July 2019 In 2016, for example, Chris Lane performed at the fair and his album reached No. 8 on the country charts not long after. Bob Blubaugh,, "Country singer Riley Green headlines concert, back by popular demand at Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair," 22 July 2019 In Miami, Harris, a former prosecutor and California attorney general, scored tons of points by going after Biden on busing and his comments on having worked with segregationists while in the Senate. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Your guide to the Democratic debates in Detroit: Lineup, schedule, what to watch," 19 July 2019 First-time head coach Juwan Howard now runs the program, which is looking to keep the momentum going after back-to-back 30+ win seasons. Molly Geary,, "Big Ten Offseason Report: Power Rankings and Burning Questions for 2019-20," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Allie Quigley scored 14 points and Stefanie Dolson had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Sky (8-8), who led by only two after one quarter but outscored the Liberty 28-10 in the second. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Courtney Vandersloot’s double-double leads the Sky to a 99-83 rout of the Liberty," 12 July 2019 For a fourth quarter point-after attempt, the Trojans sent out blind long snapper Jake Olson. Houston Mitchell,, "Morning Briefing: It’s a dog-eat-dog-eat-dog-eat-dog-eat-dog-eat-dog world," 5 July 2019 While most celebs snapped at last night's Met Gala on the red carpet, many made sure to debut stunning looks at the after party as well. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, "Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala 2019 After Party Look Was Clearly Cher Inspired," 7 May 2019 But, even with the couple ditching the after show party together, as well as the photographic proof of a friendship between the two women, everyone is still focusing on those pesky love triangle rumors. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Bradley Cooper's Ex-Wife Posted a Cryptic Response to His Relationship With Lady Gaga," 26 Feb. 2019 Here's a before-and-after look at marijuana shops across Anchorage, some of which have transformed more dramatically than others. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Before and after: How retail marijuana has changed storefronts across Anchorage," 16 May 2018 So their before-and-after pictures show really dramatic improvements. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "The truth about those popular 'liquid nose jobs'," 4 May 2018 On Wednesday, the fitness influencer posted an Instagram before-and-after photo showing her postpartum body. Blake Bakkila,, "Emily Skye Reveals She Has Changed Her Body Goals Post-Baby in Her Latest Transformation Photo," 19 Apr. 2018 Teams employ various strategies to compete for fans' sought-after entertainment dollars. Marc Bona,, "Free baseball tickets? Orioles trying 'Kids Cheer Free' deal," 15 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So the show's series finale feels like something of an occasion, even if there were few surprises in its various happily ever afters. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Andi Mack' bids farewell after groundbreaking run on Disney Channel," 26 July 2019 The moisture created a breeding ground for microbes, which turned the leaves into something complex, earthy, smoky, and entirely alluring and sought-after. Erin Booke, Dallas News, "How Dallas is dipping into the world of dark, funky, fermented teas," 26 July 2019 Beyond an easy morning-after, the practice has been said to reduce inflammation, improve sleep patterns, and give skin a certain lit-from-within glow—all benefits that give that dirty martini habit a serious run for its money. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Here’s Why Anne Hathaway Is Giving Up Alcohol," 22 Jan. 2019 Admission is by guided tour only, and tickets are highly sought-after. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Tovrea Castle: Tickets to tour the Phoenix freeway landmark go on sale July 1," 27 June 2019 Yet only certain schools, typically higher-performing ones with entrance criteria, have access to those sought-after tracks. Talia Richman, Washington Post, "Baltimore’s vocational programs fail to equitably open doors, audit finds," 19 June 2019 Yet only certain schools, typically higher-performing ones with entrance criteria, have access to those sought-after tracks. Talia Richman,, "'A caste system of education': Baltimore's vocational programs fail to equitably open doors, audit finds," 17 June 2019 The few families who had been able to bring with them items of value—gold smuggled out, sewn into their clothes—could trade it in the fast-emerging markets for vegetables or fruit, which were highly sought-after. Gaia Vince, Quartz, "How to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp," 8 June 2019 Can these two very different women still find their happily ever afters? Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "5 books not to miss: 'Recursion' by Blake Crouch, Weiner's 'Mrs. Everything,' 'Islanders'," 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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Statistics for after

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for after

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

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More Definitions for after



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with after

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for after

Spanish Central: Translation of after

Nglish: Translation of after for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of after for Arabic Speakers

Comments on after

What made you want to look up after? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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