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

It was created very specifically in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, which was a real crisis point for our government and for the country. Sean Illing, Vox, "Can the 25th Amendment be invoked to remove Trump from office? I asked one of its authors.," 14 Feb. 2019 In the book, Mr. McCabe sheds new light on his role in the aftermath of Mr. Comey’s firing as well as his brief supervision of the FBI investigation into whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with agents of Russia. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Ex-FBI Official McCabe Says He Approved Trump Probe After James Comey Firing," 14 Feb. 2019 The war in Afghanistan began in October 2001, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s speech exaggerates border peril," 6 Feb. 2019 And as Puerto Rico reeled in the devastated aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons began evacuating inmates from its easternmost facility in Rio Grande due to sustained power outages. German Lopez, Vox, "South Carolina won’t evacuate a prison in Hurricane Florence’s path," 12 Sep. 2018 Maybe a crime, a discrete event, makes for an easier narrative than its wending aftermath; maybe thinking about the unhappy unspooling of years in the life of a survivor is more than Hollywood really wishes to deal with at length. Daniel D'addario, Time, "HBO’s The Tale Grapples With Shifting Perspectives on Abuse and Trauma," 22 May 2018 In the aftermath of the 2016 US election, Zuckerberg has long said fixing the platform is a three-year project. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 In the aftermath of a New York Times story that meticulously revealed Facebook’s cloddish response to the disinformation and hacking campaigns around the 2016 election, the company is battling renewed criticism from Washington, D.C. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Facebook takes on new political heat after its internal problems are exposed," 15 Nov. 2018 That vision of traditional American values was important in a period marked by social upheaval due to the aftermath of the Civil War, the evolution of industries driving the economy, and the influx of immigrants from a troubled Europe. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Colonial Revival Design," 19 Nov. 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

20 Mar 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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