af·​ter·​math | \ ˈaf-tər-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 of the trade, Goff noted the call with McVay after the trade lasted hardly more than a few short, emotionless exchanges – their first contact since the season had ended – that left Goff caught off guard. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 19 Oct. 2021 The private intelligence business has come under scrutiny in recent years, as a result, in part, of revelations about Steele's work in the aftermath of his dossier's public release. Matthew Mosk, ABC News, 19 Oct. 2021 Luis Magaña, an advocate for farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley, helped Chavez’s family in the aftermath of her death. Los Angeles Times, 19 Oct. 2021 Many college football writers and ASU fans put the blame on coach Herm Edwards in the aftermath of ASU's epic meltdown, slamming the coach in stories and on social media. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 19 Oct. 2021 In the aftermath of the fire, the PriceMax group is in disarray. Nick Schager,, 18 Oct. 2021 But Expensify owns its own office building downtown and its IPO could be a signal that attracts more distributed tech companies to the region, eactivacspecially if remote work becomes more commonplace in the aftermath of COVID-19. Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 18 Oct. 2021 In the aftermath of a 35-29 overtime loss to the Cowboys, maybe that’s how the Patriots look now too., 18 Oct. 2021 In the aftermath of one of Alaska high school sports’ craziest contests in at least the last quarter century, West senior Terrence Grissett stood near one of his home field’s end zones. Matt Nevala, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for aftermath

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

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aftermath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on aftermath

Nglish: Translation of aftermath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aftermath for Arabic Speakers


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