aftermath

noun
af·​ter·​math | \ -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

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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

The fight between House Democrats and the Trump administration in the aftermath of Robert Mueller's report is getting increasingly tense. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "House Democrats Increase Pressure on Attorney General Barr," 3 May 2019 Currently in performances at the American Airlines Theatre through June 23, the play is set in a small American town in the aftermath of World War II. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "Annette Bening on Returning to Broadway After 32 Years in All My Sons," 29 Apr. 2019 In fact, the house was once half of a larger home, divided by bulldozing a central section in the aftermath of the Great Depression, a move that was common in Palm Beach at the time. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, "A Legendary 1920s Palm Beach House is a Showcase for a Striking Art Collection," 17 Apr. 2019 Some fear that will stifle participation among various immigrant groups, especially in the aftermath of the administration’s travel ban from Muslim countries that spread fear among Arab Americans. Joseph Gedeon, The Seattle Times, "As census approaches, many Arab Americans feel left out," 14 Apr. 2019 The Tribeca Film Festival started under the most humbling of circumstances, as a way to bring new life to lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Tribeca Film Festival Touts Red Carpet Treatment for VIP Pass Holders," 13 Apr. 2019 In the aftermath of the calamitous 2017 hurricane season, the federal government last April allocated a total of $16 billion to Texas, Puerto Rico, and other areas to invest in defenses against future storms. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, "Texas Relief Money Caught in Trump Administration Dispute With Puerto Rico," 6 Apr. 2019 These tektites formed in the Earth atmosphere in the aftermath of the asteroid or comet smashing into the Earth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Annihilation Event That Killed The Dinosaurs Left This Diverse Graveyard Trapped in Time," 1 Apr. 2019 According to ABC News, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Gypsy Rose and her mother were housed in local shelter in Covington, Louisiana. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "How True Is 'The Act'? The Hulu Series' Backstory Is Chilling," 20 Mar. 2019

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

15 May 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 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

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