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

Jackson Karstedt then doubled to the fence, scoring Helmle, before Pearland East’s third error, this time on the first baseman, scored Karstedt, who had motored to third base on a belated throw home. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Never-say-die Bayside 11s overcome first-night Section 3 loss to clinch trip to state championship," 10 July 2019 Perhaps, the fairly gushing story was Forbes’ belated way of apologizing. Phillip Morris,, "All-Star Game gives nation a new look at Cleveland’s grit, relevance: Phillip Morris," 7 July 2019 Coupled with increasingly erratic rainfall and a severe heat wave, the belated monsoon season has had devastating consequences. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Satellite Images Reveal the Extent of Chennai’s Water Shortage," 5 July 2019 That would have been enough, but on a belated throw home, Biddy took off for second. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "League City National All-Stars at doorstep to District 14 title; NASA All-Stars raise win streak to four," 29 June 2019 The belated coming to Broadway of Kenneth Lonergan is one of the best things to happen to theater in America in the past decade. Terry Teachout, WSJ, "‘The Waverly Gallery’ Review: A Playwright of the Smaller Stage," 27 June 2019 Todd will undoubtedly ask about Russia, but the diplomatic angle is much more pressing than another belated question about 2016 election interference. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Give Democrats a Chance to Get Serious in Their First Debates," 26 June 2019 Thanks to a financial gift from his namesake foundation, the exhibition is a belated 100th birthday gift of sorts to Wilson Jr., the late philanthropist and owner of the Buffalo Bills who passed away in 2014. Ryan Patrick Hooper, Detroit Free Press, "Impressionist innovators like Monet and Renoir highlight DIA's 'Humble and Human' exhibit," 26 June 2019 Another factor that promoted urban revival was the belated realization that suburban sprawl has a downside. Tom Condon,, "As Connecticut cities revive, what did we learn from the mistakes of urban renewal?," 26 June 2019

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

18 Jul 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

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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