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.

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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."

Examples of belated in a Sentence

She received belated recognition for her scientific discovery.

Recent Examples on the Web

The surprise announcement was largely dismissed as a belated damage control effort by victims' advocates. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Pope Francis leads Vatican summit on abuse scandal, OKs probe of American bishop accused of sex harassment," 13 Sep. 2018 The belated efforts to reconcile with Indigenous people have been championed by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Protests Shutter a Show That Cast White Singers as Black Slaves," 4 July 2018 The belated referral of the issue to judicial authorities and what was widely viewed as insufficient action at the time by the Elysee Palace has triggered a firestorm from the opposition. Fox News, "French investigators raid home of Macron's bodyguard," 21 July 2018 Despite the belated announcement of her performance, James, an alum of the reality show R&B Divas: Los Angeles, was actually the first musical act of the night. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Soul Singer Brought a Choir to the Victoria's Secret Runway," 9 Nov. 2018 The belated addition of the feature would be a little surprising because Apple doesn’t seem too enamored with SIM cards in the first place. Sam Byford, The Verge, "Why Apple might make a dual-SIM iPhone," 29 Aug. 2018 Spring has finally made its belated appearance, at least weather-wise. Jane Napier Neely,, "The Valley Line: Beauty of nature captured in local woman’s paintings now on display at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital," 26 Mar. 2018 Thank you for my belated but perfect birthday dinner!! Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson Were Incredibly Loved-Up in Mexico," 16 Aug. 2018 Making a belated Chicago debut at Park West, Hixson turned in a performance that raised many questions, but especially one: What took her so long to play Chicago? Howard Reich,, "Singer Maud Hixson makes a stand in Chicago — finally," 20 June 2018

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.

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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)

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Dictionary Entries near belated






be laughing


Statistics for belated

Last Updated

9 May 2019

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Time Traveler for belated

The first known use of belated was in 1670

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More Definitions for belated



English Language Learners Definition of belated

: happening or coming very late or too late


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on belated

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with belated

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belated

Spanish Central: Translation of belated

Nglish: Translation of belated for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of belated for Arabic Speakers

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