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

Facebook’s ads have been a source of frustration for lawmakers for years, especially in the aftermath of the 2016 elections when it was discovered that Russian influence agents were able to place political ads involving US politics on the platform. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Without new laws, Facebook has no reason to fix its broken ad system," 31 Oct. 2018 Another ravaged Central Europe and Russia in the aftermath of World War I, killing at least five million people. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient DNA reveals the secrets of a devastating European disease," 26 Sep. 2018 State television showed images of the immediate aftermath. Nasser Karimi, Fox News, "Iranian news agency: 8 Guard members killed in attack," 22 Sep. 2018 In the aftermath of Amma's meltdown, the parallel between Natalie and Camille is spoken aloud, as Adora admits that Natalie’s wild, forest-roaming side reminded her of Camille. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 2 Recap: Appearances Are Everything," 16 July 2018 Intimate photos of the aftermath of the abuse circulated all over the internet. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Why Be Engaged When You Can Be An Ex?," 13 July 2018 Thai officials were rushing to cope with some of the logistics of the aftermath of the sinking. Vincent Thian, chicagotribune.com, "Search resumes for 23 missing tourists, mostly from China, after boat sinks in Thailand; 33 dead," 7 July 2018 Orlando weather radar: Click here to see a live weather radar for Central Florida » See pictures of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Orlando and across Central Florida. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Weather: Scorching temperatures could make way for rain this afternoon," 26 June 2018 In the aftermath of this week’s follower purge, people who have built their celebrity on social media platforms took a hit as well. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "In Twitter Purge, Top Accounts Lose Millions of Followers," 12 July 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

13 Nov 2018

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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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