after

1 of 7

adverb

af·​ter ˈaf-tər How to pronounce after (audio)
: following in time or place : afterward, behind, later
we arrived shortly after
returned 20 years after

after

2 of 7

preposition

1
a
: 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 gold
was 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

after

3 of 7

conjunction

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

after

4 of 7

adjective

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

after

5 of 7

auxiliary verb

af·​ter ˈäf-tər How to pronounce after (audio)
chiefly Ireland
used with a present participle to indicate action completed and especially just completed
the poor old man is after dying on meJ. M. Synge

after

6 of 7

noun

after-

7 of 7

prefix

1
a
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
afterbirth
afterlife
afternoon
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
afterglow
aftershock
afterthought
2
the rear or lower part
afterdeck

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 the cruise ship had more spacious cabins in after years the government set up a special fund for disabled veterans of the war
Recent Examples on the Web
Adverb
Soon after, the German soldier realized the Americans had taken the town and surrendered to Mr. Maughan, who Ms. Flais described as preternaturally calm, handing out chewing gum, chocolate and cigarettes. Catherine Porter Andrea Mantovani, New York Times, 7 June 2024 One lane of eastbound bore 1 was reopened about 10:21 a.m. and the other soon after. Harry Harris, The Mercury News, 4 June 2024
Preposition
Here are 10 to ponder as the Bears hit their break — the rookies will be free after three more OTAs Monday through Wednesday. Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune, 9 June 2024 Asked again, after 18 more months of managing her family’s budget, her answer has changed. Roxana Popescu, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 June 2024
Adjective
Following the show’s taping, the two also stepped out for the after party together. Sadie Bell, Peoplemag, 2 Mar. 2024 Friday through Sunday night, different groups of musicians will take the stage from 11 p.m. until after 1 a.m., with trombonist Vincent Chandler hosting an after hours jam session Sunday night. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, 31 Aug. 2023
Noun
Pugh, who wore a Del Core dress with elevated straps on the Oscars red carpet, hit the afters in a sheer number from Simone Rocha’s Jean Paul Gaultier spring 2024 couture collection. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 11 Mar. 2024 At the after party, Katelyn got teary-eyed talking about the struggle of the group date. Dana Rose Falcone, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for after 

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

Word History

Etymology

Adverb

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.

Preposition

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

Conjunction

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

Adjective

independent use of after-

Auxiliary verb

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

Noun

by shortening

Prefix

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

First Known Use

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Preposition

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

Conjunction

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

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

Auxiliary Verb

1778, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1902, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near after

Cite this Entry

“After.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/after. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

after

1 of 4 adverb
af·​ter ˈaf-tər How to pronounce after (audio)
: following in time or place : later, behind

after

2 of 4 preposition
1
a
: behind in time or place
following after us
after dinner
b
: below in rank or order
the highest mountain after Mount Everest
2
: for the reason of catching, seizing, or getting
ran after the ball
go after gold
3
a
: with the name of or a name derived from that of
named after his father
b
: in imitation of
patterned after a Gothic cathedral

after

3 of 4 conjunction
: later than the time when
opened the door after she knocked

after

4 of 4 adjective
1
: later in time
in after years
2
: located toward the stern of a ship or tail of an aircraft
Etymology

Adverb

Old English æfter "behind, later"

More from Merriam-Webster on after

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