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

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 the footage, many retailers pulled Fairlife projects from their shelves, including Jewel-Osco, Tony’s Fresh Market and Family Express, according to Today. Helen Murphy,, "Fairlife Dairy Products Pulled from Shelves After Footage of Animal Cruelty at Dairy Farm Is Released," 7 June 2019 In 2017, Goodell suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games in the aftermath of allegations that Elliott had battered his ex-girlfriend. Michael Mccann,, "What's Next for Tyreek Hill After Not Being Charged in Child Abuse Investigation?," 7 June 2019 In the aftermath of the controversy, the Chicago Police Department's superintendent was fired, the state attorney lost her bid for re-election and Mayor Rahm Emanuel changed his mind about running for a third term. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'16 Shots': Film Review," 7 June 2019 The residents of Puerto Rico have continued to struggle with new — and old — problems in the aftermath of the devastation caused by hurricanes María and Irma in 2017. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Some progressives worry Puerto Rico is being left behind on 2020 campaign trail," 7 June 2019 Here, Avicii’s father Klas Bergling discusses the Tim Bergling Foundation, and healing in the aftermath of his son’s death. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Avicii's Father on Tim Bergling Foundation: 'We Want Results. We Don't Want To Sit and Talk and Spend Money'," 6 June 2019 In the aftermath of the recent deadly synagogue shooting in Poway, leaders from across the country will gather for a public discussion tonight to share how their communities have confronted similar tragedies. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Forum tonight asks leaders from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh how they confronted hate," 5 June 2019 Whoever succeeds May will have to respond to new challenges in the relationship with the U.S. in the aftermath of Brexit. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Trump, Britain, and the Special Relationship," 5 June 2019 Set in the aftermath of 2015’s Jurassic World movie starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, DreamWorks Animation’s Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous follows six teenagers stranded behind at an adventure camp on the other side of the island. Piya Sinha-roy,, "Jurassic World reopens its gates for animated Camp Cretaceous Netflix series in 2020," 4 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.

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

12 Jun 2019

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



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

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).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

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

Bee Cubed

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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