be·​lat·​ed | \bi-ˈlā-təd, 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Late in the evening of Feb. 14, the embattled leader of what used to be Africa’s most promising nation delivered a belated Valentine’s gift to his people. Time, "Jacob Zuma Is Gone. Here's What South Africa Has to Do Next," 15 Feb. 2018 And its belated attempts to muscle its way into businesses such as consumer lending have failed to transform the company into a real competitor of commercial banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Kate Kelly, New York Times, "The Next Goldman Chief Could Be a Banker Who Moonlights as a D.J.," 12 Mar. 2018 On Friday, June 29, Sterling throws a free (albeit belated) release party at the Virgin Hotel on Wabash, where he'll be joined by the Mind, Elz the DJ, DJ King Marie, Qari, and DJ Such n Such. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Chicago band Diagonal do mid-90s shoegaze so well they might have a time machine," 26 June 2018 But her belated move towards a realistic Brexit has just begun. The Economist, "A new Brexit plan creates fresh depths of chaos," 12 July 2018 But there were flickers even before then to suggest this team could yet make some noise at this tournament, not least the belated arrival of Messi. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "With All Eyes on Messi, Rojo Saves Argentina From World Cup Elimination," 26 June 2018 However, Nintendo believes the belated nature of Switch ports won’t last forever. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Wolfenstein II on the Switch is the best way to kill Nazis on the go," 29 June 2018 Mason Reynolds scored Kane Burgess with a single to center, but when a belated throw home got by the catcher, Cameron McElroy scored. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Pinto Gold all-stars’ day begins with triple play, ends with elimination after 9-8 loss," 24 June 2018 The program also held the belated CSO premiere of a fascinating rarity for voices and orchestra by Luigi Cherubini, an older contemporary of Rossini’s whose music Muti has long advocated. John Von Rhein,, "Muti leads CSO and Chorus in stirring season finale, Rossini's Stabat Mater," 22 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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about belated

Listen to Our Podcast about belated

Dictionary Entries near belated






be laughing


Statistics for belated

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for belated

The first known use of belated was in 1670

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for belated



English Language Learners Definition of belated

: happening or coming very late or too late


be·​lat·​ed | \bi-ˈlā-təd \

Kids Definition of belated

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

Other Words from belated

belatedly adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on belated

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


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!