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 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, "The Overlooked Hallmark of the Trump Administration—and Other Autocracies," 15 Dec. 2020 Then my friend Karen and her daughter Sophia stopped by to bring me a belated birthday present. Karina Bland, azcentral, "In these trying times, we have rolls to play in helping each other get by," 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, "Why the NBA’s return now feels like it’s a season away," 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, "‘All Day and a Night’ | Anatomy of a Scene," 1 May 2020 This recognition that a legend hums among us, however belated, is just. Los Angeles Times, "Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday bash reminds us why his music remains so radical," 27 Apr. 2020 Diaz brought belated economic development, but at the cost of a conservative strongman style of government far removed from Juárez. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "The Real History of Cinco de Mayo," 5 May 2020 President Trump, under pressure over his handling of the virus’ spread, has turned his fire on China’s belated response to the initial outbreak. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "How COVID-19 may change rules of engagement with China," 30 Apr. 2020 Yet the country’s belated pangs of conscience have not induced any inclination to reapportion the spoils. Andrew J. Bacevich, Harper's Magazine, "The Old Normal," 27 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for belated

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The first known use of belated was in 1670

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Cite this Entry

“Belated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on belated

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