af·​ter·​math | \ ˈaf-tər-ˌmath How to pronounce aftermath (audio) \

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

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 The aftermath of a scam involves recounting the story to many actors, all with different capacities for empathy. Hannah Zeavin, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 One of the hardest parts about being a forensic accountant is seeing the pain and aftermath of the situation as experienced by my clients. Danielle Cheek, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Even state-media journalists have been obstructed from reporting on the aftermath by local authorities, who tightened Tangshan's Covid travel restrictions following the attack. Nectar Gan, CNN, 20 June 2022 Another group, the Principal Recovery Network, was formed in 2019 by survivors to help provide school administrators with guidance on navigating a shooting’s aftermath. Nicole Asbury, Anchorage Daily News, 20 June 2022 Speaking up isn’t always the hard part, it’s the aftermath. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 June 2022 In the aftermath of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, a group of survivors gathered at the Al Manaar Centre in West London to prepare food together for their families and community. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 16 June 2022 During a wide-ranging conversation with Gayle King as part of the Tribeca Film Festival's Directors Series in New York City Monday, Perry, 52, addressed the shocking moment and the immediate aftermath. Benjamin Vanhoose,, 13 June 2022 In the end, Howard performed her scenes in a chair on a soundstage, but still got banged up enough that co-star Chris Pratt begged her to post on Twitter the aftermath pictures taken by a makeup artist. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 12 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aftermath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for aftermath


af·​ter·​math | \ ˈaf-tər-ˌmath How to pronounce aftermath (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on aftermath

Nglish: Translation of aftermath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aftermath for Arabic Speakers


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