be·​lat·​ed | \ bi-ˈlā-təd How to pronounce belated (audio) , bē- \

Definition of belated

1 : delayed beyond the usual time One of the men was belated and did not join us at all.— William Pittenger
2 : existing or appearing past the normal or proper time a belated birthday card She received belated recognition for her work.

Other Words from belated

belatedly adverb
belatedness noun

Did you know?

Long ago, there was a verb belate, which meant "to make late." From the beginning, belate tended to mostly turn up in the form of its past participle, belated. Eventually, belate itself fell out of use, leaving behind belated as an adjective that preserved the original notion of delay. As you may have guessed, belate and its descendant belated derive from the adjective late; belate was formed by simply combining the prefix be- ("to cause to be") with late. Belated was also once used in the sense "overtaken by night," as in "belated travelers seeking lodging for the night." This sense was in fact the first meaning of the adjective, but it has since fallen into disuse.

Examples of belated in a Sentence

She received belated recognition for her scientific discovery.
Recent Examples on the Web The belated and awkward actions of the tech giant further damaged the company’s profile at time when China’s regulators were mounting a multi-pronged assault on the activities and business practices of the country’s leading tech firms. Patrick Frater, Variety, 23 June 2022 At the same time, they were hardly shocked at Ye’s belated attempt to seize control of the project. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 1 Feb. 2022 Accounts of Tedros’s belated shift on China may be unlikely to win over his critics. Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2021 Nikole Hannah-Jones has rejected a contentious and belated offer of a tenured faculty p0sition at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and will join the faculty at Howard University instead. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Nothing has reminded me of Russia quite so much as the Trump Administration’s belated effort to encourage Americans to vaccinate. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2020 Then my friend Karen and her daughter Sophia stopped by to bring me a belated birthday present. Karina Bland, azcentral, 25 Mar. 2020 There’s nothing any of us want more than to be talking about the return of the NBA, the NHL and the belated startup of the MLB season in July. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, 11 May 2020 The third period sees him in prison, coming face-to-face again with his father who is also serving time, and embarking on a journey of belated self-discovery. Lovia Gyarkye, New York Times, 1 May 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belated.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of belated

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for belated

past participle of belate (to make late)

Learn More About belated

Time Traveler for belated

Time Traveler

The first known use of belated was in 1670

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About belated

Dictionary Entries Near belated




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for belated

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Belated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for belated


be·​lat·​ed | \ bi-ˈlā-təd How to pronounce belated (audio) \

Kids Definition of belated

: happening or coming very late or too late belated birthday wishes

Other Words from belated

belatedly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on belated

Nglish: Translation of belated for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of belated for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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