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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 The aftermath of the incident was captured in a Facebook post that has since gone viral with a video and photos of two of the boys in handcuffs in front of a police car. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "A police officer pointed his gun at 4 unarmed, black teens. Now police are investigating," 12 July 2018 The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey initially informed the song. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Jason Eady is a happy man, and one of country music’s unheralded talents," 11 July 2018 Jurgen Klopp's side won the match 3-2, but Karius' mistake made the headlines once again in the match's aftermath. SI.com, "REVEALED: What Tranmere Winger & Liverpool Fan Said to Loris Karius After Latest Clanger," 11 July 2018 Despite the truths that came out, both Mongeau and Weist seem happy with how the documentary turned out, taking to Twitter to address the aftermath. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "The Trials & Tribulations Of TanaCon, The Internet’s Weirdest Drama," 6 July 2018 Most people struggled with the psychological aftermath of the earthquake for months. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "The Devastating Aftermath of an Avalanche on Everest," 6 July 2018 The museum’s newest exhibit, one exploring the aftermath of the mass shooting Oct. 1 along the Strip, is quickly growing in size. Jay Jones, latimes.com, "Las Vegas' past, from a classic chapel to vintage railroad cars, on display at little-known museum," 5 July 2018 In invoking the West, Dreher could have looked at more recent hallmarks: the agreements forged in the aftermath of World War II on human rights, say, or the duty of rich nations to care for desperate people displaced by violence. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Rod Dreher’s Bad History," 3 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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aftermath

Listen to Our Podcast about aftermath

Statistics for aftermath

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aftermath

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aftermath

What made you want to look up aftermath? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!