Definition of belated
- One of the men was belated and did not join us at all.
- —William Pittenger
- a belated birthday card
- She received belated recognition for her work.
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She received belated recognition for her scientific discovery.
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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."
First Known Use: 1670See Words from the same year
: happening or coming very late or too late
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