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.

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

Under different circumstances, the news might well have been the belated Salzburg debut of James Conlon, L.A. Opera’s music director. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Plácido Domingo wins a long ovation in his first concert after harassment allegations," 26 Aug. 2019 The ensemble, led by music director Long Yu, makes its somewhat belated Chicago-area debut with Alisa Weilerstein as guest soloist in Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. Howard Reich,, "Itzhak Perlman will pick up violin and baton at Ravinia," 13 Aug. 2019 Dozens of descendants from a single Russian village held a belated town hall meeting more than a century in the making Saturday at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Lillian Reed,, "A century after their ancestors left Russia for Baltimore, descendants gather to share history and stories," 31 Aug. 2019 As residents advocate their case to city officials, weak regulations, poorly presented data, and low political will can lead to belated city acknowledgment of the problem. Molly Enking, WIRED, "Flint, Newark, and the Persistent Crisis of Lead in Water," 28 Aug. 2019 The belated move, which comes just a week after Reuters reported that Beijing blocked Lam’s previous attempt to withdraw the bill, has done little to quell unrest. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "China’s Struggles," 7 Sep. 2019 The tickets were a belated birthday present for her mother, Chris Dunbar, who recalled seeing one of Joel’s early shows for just $10. Christine Condon,, "Observations from Billy Joel’s historic performance at Camden Yards in Baltimore," 27 July 2019 March Madness wouldn’t be the same without the 58-year-old’s (happy belated birthday!) consistent presence. Jacob Feldman,, "The 2019 Sports On-Air All-Stars," 11 July 2019 Then, in 2004, scientists who had conducted research at Sagehen gathered for a belated celebration of its fiftieth anniversary. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires," 19 Aug. 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.

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

10 Oct 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!