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

In the aftermath, US players were portrayed as bullies, poor sports, and front-runners. Dan Shaughnessy,, "No apologies here: American women were world-beaters," 7 July 2019 During this year’s El Nino winter, unusually high rains washed more pollution downstream, impairing water quality in the aftermath. San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County beaches, among the best in state, get top grades for cleanliness," 26 June 2019 Management offered to pay for mental health resources for any staff members who needed it in the aftermath. Amelia Harnish,, "Frat Feminism: Inside The Rise And Fall Of Babe.Net," 25 June 2019 Directly observing stress is tricky — in most cases, researchers end up measuring it in the aftermath. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 In the aftermath, Carlos and Smith were expelled from the Olympic Village and faced ostracization, criticism and even death threats back home. Kimberly Mitchell, The Mercury News, "Community members mourn loss of historic San Jose State track," 20 June 2019 Woods eventually moved out of Kylie's house in the aftermath and later appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk to tell her side of the story. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Watch the Moment When the Kardashians Found Out About Tristan Thompson and Jordyn Woods," 20 June 2019 Procedures are also needed for handling the mental health of people involved, notifying family members of their loved one’s death, and also for what to do in the aftermath. Jacob Beltran,, "Mother of child killed at Sandy Hook stresses planning ahead of active shooting incidents," 19 June 2019 Without sufficient warning because of the radio silence, 19 people died, and hundreds were injured in the aftermath. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County Hurricane Conference message is ‘Be prepared’," 18 June 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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Statistics for aftermath

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aftermath

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

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More Definitions for aftermath



English Language Learners Definition of aftermath

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


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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characterized by aphorism

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