aftermath

noun
af·​ter·​math | \ -ˌmath \

Definition of aftermath 

1 : a second-growth crop

called also rowen

2 : consequence, result stricken with guilt as an aftermath of the accident
3 : the period immediately following a usually ruinous event in the aftermath of the war

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Breaking Down Aftermath

Aftermath dates to the late 1400s and was originally an agricultural term. Its two parts are transparent—but only if you're familiar with an ancient word math that is now used only in British dialectal English and that means "a mowing of a grass or hay crop" and also refers to the crop that is gathered. The original aftermath came, of course, after the math: it was historically the crop of (usually) grass cut, grazed, or plowed under after the first crop of the season from the same soil. It wasn't until the mid-late 1600s that aftermath developed its other meanings, both of which are now far more common than the first.

Examples of aftermath in a Sentence

the surgery was successful, but she now had to deal with its aftermath: a huge bill

Recent Examples on the Web

Use painter's tape to clean up the aftermath of a smoky eye. Seventeen.com Editors, Seventeen, "50 Life-Changing Prom Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard Before," 19 Dec. 2018 The post—and subsequent aftermath—came in the wake of a much larger conversation (some might say feud) percolating on Twitter during the weekend that involved Drake and Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Davidson's former fiancé Ariana Grande. Whitney Perry, Glamour, "Pete Davidson's Deleted Instagram, Ariana's Concern, and Kanye's Tweets: Here's What Happened," 16 Dec. 2018 There’s no training for navigating the aftermath of a shooting. Loren Kleinman And Amye Archer, Marie Claire, "I’m a Survivor of Sandy Hook. This Is What The Past Six Years Have Been Like.," 14 Dec. 2018 The Palladinos revel in the quietly revolutionary, whether tackling the surprisingly chipper aftermath of Lorelai Gilmore's teen pregnancy, or the boys' club of 1950s comedy. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 9 Dec. 2018 Television footage of the aftermath showed several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up. Amanda Seitz, The Seattle Times, "Chicago hospital shooting claims 3 lives; gunman also dead," 19 Nov. 2018 Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Amazon made its choice, plus some thoughts on the aftermath of the nationwide search, which some saw as a stunt. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Who will Facebook fire after a damning New York Times investigation?," 15 Nov. 2018 Isabel Rock, who is engaged to former Little People, Big World star Jacob Roloff, opened up on Instagram about the aftermath of a recent car accident that totaled her car — but luckily left her and the other driver without injury. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "Jacob Roloff’s Fiancée, Isabel Rock, Got Into a Scary Car Accident," 23 Oct. 2018 Deller and his colleagues — led by Kunal Mooley, of the NRAO and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena — used a variety of radio telescopes to study the aftermath of the neutron-star collision, a historic event known as GW170817. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Faster Than Light? Neutron-Star Merger Shot Out a Jet with Seemingly Impossible Speed," 5 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aftermath.' 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 aftermath

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aftermath

after- + math "mowing," going back to Middle English *math, going back to a short-vowel variant (perhaps of Germanic date) of Old English mǣþ, going back to Germanic *mēþa- (whence Old Saxon mād- —in māddag "mowing day"—, Old High German āmād "aftermath"), derivative with the nominal suffix *-to- from the base of *mēan- "to mow entry 2"

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for aftermath

The first known use of aftermath was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for aftermath

aftermath

noun

English Language Learners Definition of aftermath

: the period of time after a bad and usually destructive event

aftermath

noun
af·​ter·​math | \ ˈaf-tər-ˌmath \

Kids Definition of aftermath

1 : a result or consequence She felt tired as an aftermath of the long race.
2 : the period of time following a bad and usually destructive event the aftermath of a hurricane

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