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

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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 the cruise ship had more spacious cabins in after years the government set up a special fund for disabled veterans of the war See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Hurricane Ian came ashore near Georgetown, South Carolina, on Friday afternoon, knocking out power to more than 180,000 customers 20 minutes after landfall. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 30 Sep. 2022 The wood grain's irregular, kaleidoscopic pattern forms as the tree heals itself, so no two pieces of burl wood are exactly alike, making this material rare and highly sought-after. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Sep. 2022 Shares rallied 10% from two days before the announcement to two days after. Hannah Miao, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2022 During this time, Pamplin became hyper-focused on his health and nutrition, and soon after, reconnected with his colleague and friend John Zheng. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 30 Sep. 2022 When gold was found in the Black Hills soon after, colonists quickly violated the agreement. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2022 Not long after, the Knudsens moved from Carlsbad to the Valley, where Chris’ parents were snowbirds. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 29 Sep. 2022 The Grammy, and the height of his popularity, came in 1996, amid a fierce feud between the hip-hop communities of the two coasts, which would take the lives of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. soon after. Time, 29 Sep. 2022 The article prompted a European executive to resign from Huawei shortly after, and in February 2021 to speak out about the company’s technology. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 29 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Tagovailoa was able to fly home with the team after the Bengals game, which the Dolphins lost. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 2 Oct. 2022 Regina Haywood must get her new crew on board after being promoted to be the boss of the 74th precinct in East New York. Olivia Mccormack, Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2022 Remember, it’s okay to feel lonely after cutting off the people who are weighing you down. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Oct. 2022 Thomas did not dispute killing Bell about a week after the 2019 Independence Day holiday, and told police the shooting was self-defense. John Lynch, Arkansas Online, 1 Oct. 2022 Najimy's list of credits after Hocus Pocus is way too long to recount, proving the rousing success she's had since her witch days. Ale Russian, Peoplemag, 30 Sep. 2022 Raiola also continued his praise for Valentine after the running back was the recipient for the majority of the passing touchdowns. Azcentral Sports, The Arizona Republic, 30 Sep. 2022 The Democratic surge after the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision striking down Roe was real, says Alexander Sammon in The American Prospect. Harold Maass, The Week, 30 Sep. 2022 Hurricane Ian will continue causing damage long after the power is fully back on, gas lines disappear and building repairs are complete. Staff And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 30 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And in the after end of the console is a sink and barbecue that offers service to a dining settee that ostensibly seats eight people, though that seems optimistic if everyone shows up at the same time. Kevin Koenig, Robb Report, 21 Sep. 2022 Graham delivered a stunning state-of-the-art package, with its 300-foot stage, striking live video projections of the after-dark headliners, and a 300,000watt sound system that amplified the music with crystalline presence. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Sep. 2022 There’s an air of optimism in the capital that hasn’t been felt since the Fabio Capello era, with the after glow of winning the UEFA EFA +0.6% Europa Conference League still very much in effect. Emmet Gates, Forbes, 11 Aug. 2022 On Wednesday, the mom of three, 34, shared to Instagram an update regarding her hair loss — an after effect of her 2020 pregnancy — revealing that her hairline has been growing in over the past few months. Giovana Gelhoren, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And yet, there is ultimately a sense of hope and healing in the lyrics–the result of therapy and a lot of hard work and study on Mumford’s part about trauma and its after-effects. Melinda Newman, Billboard, 15 Sep. 2022 At the same time, retailers are still struggling with the after-effects of pandemic disruptions. Quartz, 17 Aug. 2022 According to Reznor’s accounts of his time there, the after-effects of that one August night were still palpable throughout the home some 23 years later. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, 10 Aug. 2022 After the point-after, the Stars utilized a special USFL rule, allowing the offense to go for a fourth and 12 from their own 33 rather than taking a traditional onside kick. cleveland, 4 July 2022 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 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

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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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Last Updated

3 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“After.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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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


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