af·​ter·​thought | \ -ˌthȯt How to pronounce afterthought (audio) \

Definition of afterthought

1 : an idea occurring later
2 : something (such as a part or feature) not thought of originally : something secondary

Examples of afterthought in a Sentence

Then I remembered, almost as an afterthought, to feed the cat. The fact was hidden deep in the report, almost as an afterthought. The lounge was added to the office as an afterthought.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That’s the same work ethic that helped Culver go from afterthought recruit to Big 12 Player of the Year at Texas Tech. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Timberwolves trade up to No. 6 in NBA draft, select Jarrett Culver," 20 June 2019 It was built as an afterthought in 1973, a last-minute fix after officials realized there was a literal moat between the futuristic new BART station and the Oakland Coliseum complex. Peter Hartlaub,, "A tribute to the Coliseum BART pedestrian walkway, accidental East Bay treasure," 12 June 2019 According to the normal rules of politics, Mr Stewart should be nothing but an afterthought in the race. The Economist, "Rory Stewart, odd man out," 7 June 2019 When there's a world of wonderful Italian cheeses out there, an offering of mozzarella, Parmesan, chèvre and Brie feels like a lazy afterthought. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "The Sicilian Butcher: 908 ways to eat meatballs at Maggiore's new Italian restaurant. But are they good?," 10 Apr. 2018 Jake Arrieta was an afterthought trade to the Cubs. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "The Royal Way back: How Dayton Moore intends to build his second championship team | The Kansas City Star," 21 Mar. 2018 All of this came out of a brainstorming session from the league and players' union after a ridiculous display at last year's All-Star Game win which the winning team scored 192 points and effort was a distant afterthought. Joe Vardon,, "Kyrie Irving points to $100,000 All-Star payout while LeBron James, others rave about new format," 19 Feb. 2018 The other, purchased as an afterthought along with a Diet Coke during a stop for gas in Riverdale, New Jersey, netted him a $533 million prize, the fourth largest in the game's history and one of the 10 largest jackpots ever. Carlie Kollath Wells,, "Powerball ticket worth $50,000 sold in Metairie. Here's where.," 30 Apr. 2018 Building humanities and social sciences—in which Europe has a strong tradition—into AI can help make sure that ethics is an integral part of these developments, rather than a detached musing or an afterthought, Gras adds. Tania Rabesandratana, Science | AAAS, "With €1.5 billion for artificial intelligence research, Europe pins hopes on ethics," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'afterthought.' 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 afterthought

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for afterthought

after- + thought entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about afterthought

Statistics for afterthought

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for afterthought

The first known use of afterthought was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for afterthought



English Language Learners Definition of afterthought

: something done or said after other things because it was not thought of earlier


af·​ter·​thought | \ ˈaf-tər-ˌthȯt How to pronounce afterthought (audio) \

Kids Definition of afterthought

: something done or said that was not thought of originally A bow was added to the present as an afterthought.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on afterthought

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with afterthought

Spanish Central: Translation of afterthought

Nglish: Translation of afterthought for Spanish Speakers

Comments on afterthought

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


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

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


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!