1

late

adjective \ ˈlāt \
Updated on: 8 Dec 2017

Definition of late

later; latest
1 a (1) : coming or remaining after the due, usual, or proper time
  • a late spring
  • was late for class
(2) : of, relating to, or imposed because of tardiness
  • had to pay a late fee
b (1) : of or relating to an advanced stage in point of time or development : occurring near the end of a period of time or series
  • the late Middle Ages
(2) : far advanced toward the close of the day or night
  • late hours
2 a : living comparatively recently : now deceased used of persons
  • the late John Doe
and often with reference to a specific relationship or status
  • his late wife
b : being something or holding some position or relationship recently but not now
  • the late belligerents
c : made, appearing, or happening just previous to the present time especially as the most recent of a succession
  • our late quarrel

lateness

noun

Examples of late in a Sentence

  1. It happened in late spring.

  2. a word first recorded in the late 17th century

  3. We had a late spring this year.

  4. Hurry up or we'll be late for school.

  5. Their warning was too late to help him.

  6. I've always been a late riser.

  7. He made a donation to the school in memory of his late wife.

Recent Examples of late from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'late.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of late

Middle English, late, slow, from Old English læt; akin to Old High German laz slow, Old English lǣtan to let

Synonym Discussion of late

dead, defunct, deceased, departed, late mean devoid of life. dead applies literally to what is deprived of vital force but is used figuratively of anything that has lost any attribute (such as energy, activity, radiance) suggesting life.
    • a dead, listless performance
defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation.
    • a defunct television series
deceased, departed, and late apply to persons who have died recently. deceased is the preferred term in legal use.
    • the estate of the deceased
departed is used usually as a euphemism.
    • our departed sister
late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status.
    • the company's late president

2

late

adverb

Definition of late

later; latest
1 a : after the usual or proper time
  • got to work late
b : at or to an advanced point of time
2 : not long ago : recently
  • a writer late of Chicago
of late
: in the period shortly or immediately preceding : recently
  • has been sick of late

Examples of late in a Sentence

  1. Late in the year he became ill.

  2. It rained late in the day.

  3. Late in his career he moved to the city.

  4. a word first recorded late in the 17th century

  5. They were trailing by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

  6. The package should be arriving late next week.

  7. He sent in his job application late.

  8. They arrived too late for breakfast.

  9. I like getting up late.

  10. The package arrived late, but better late than never!

Recent Examples of late from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'late.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of late

see 1late


LATE Defined for English Language Learners

late

adverb

Definition of late for English Language Learners

  • : at or near the end of a period of time or a process, activity, series, etc.

  • : after the usual or expected time


LATE Defined for Kids

1

late

adjective \ ˈlāt \

Definition of late for Students

later; latest
1 : coming or occurring after the usual or proper time
  • a late spring
2 : coming or occurring toward the end
  • He married in his late twenties.
3 : having died or recently left a certain position
  • the late president
4 : recent 2
  • a late discovery

lateness

noun
  • Do you realize the lateness of the hour?

2

late

adverb

Definition of late for Students

later; latest
1 : after the usual or proper time
  • We arrived late.
2 : near the end of something
  • We'll see you late next week.
of late
: lately
  • I have not seen him of late.


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

of or relating to dancing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!