late

1 of 2

adjective

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

late

2 of 2

adverb

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
Phrases
of late
: in the period shortly or immediately preceding : recently
has been sick of late
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of late in a Sentence

Adjective It happened in late spring. a word first recorded in the late 17th century We had a late spring this year. Hurry up or we'll be late for school. Their warning was too late to help him. I've always been a late riser. He made a donation to the school in memory of his late wife. Adverb Late in the year he became ill. It rained late in the day. Late in his career he moved to the city. a word first recorded late in the 17th century They were trailing by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The package should be arriving late next week. He sent in his job application late. They arrived too late for breakfast. I like getting up late. The package arrived late, but better late than never!
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
That adjustment, which was initially rolled out in 2022, reviews borrowers’ accounts and gives them credit for making partial and late payments. Solcyré Burga, TIME, 12 Apr. 2024 The penalty amounts to 5% of the taxes owed for each month that the filing is late, up to a maximum of 25%. Max Zahn, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2024 The University of Michigan’s latest consumer survey showed that sentiment largely held steady in April, according to a preliminary reading, edging lower to a reading of 77.9 from 79.4. Bryan Mena, CNN, 12 Apr. 2024 On Wednesday, April 10, the pair also attended a red carpet for a screening of his latest film, The Long Game, with Savoie, 30, teaming a pair of classic white pants with a one-shoulder black top featuring a cutout on her midriff. Gabrielle Rockson, Peoplemag, 12 Apr. 2024 As of late March, security forces had detained 16,459 people. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2024 In late 2022, the City Council approved a plan that delayed from 2025 to 2030 achieving the goal. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Apr. 2024 The Wizards made a late push to cut the deficit to 10 with 4:17 left in the fourth quarter. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 1 Apr. 2024 Mookie Betts also maintained his blistering pace in the early season, helping the Dodgers erase a late three-run deficit with three hits, including a ninth-inning homer, before the team ultimately left the bases loaded in the 10th inning to end the game. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2024
Adverb
Lee then researched if there were any local opportunities and applied to the Prince George’s program late last year. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2024 In a report from Ampere Analysis late last year, which predicted that global streamers could drive 75% growth in sub-Saharan Africa’s subscription video on demand (SVOD) market. Callum McLennan, Variety, 12 Apr. 2024 Speculation revved up late last year after TMZ published photos of the pair looking pretty close at a tennis fundraiser for the Inspiring Children Foundation, reportedly held on Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 12 Apr. 2024 The company revamped its iconic wool sneaker late last year in an effort to go back to basics. Sasha Rogelberg, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2024 The Michigan United Conservation Clubs filed suit late last month against the Natural Resources Commission in Ingham County Circuit Court for its recent decision to prohibit coyote hunting from April 16 through July 14. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, 11 Apr. 2024 Storms are likely to roll in late this afternoon moving from the west at about 40 mph. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Apr. 2024 Iowa scored two very late in the third period as Kansas City took game one of the series, 3-2. Zach Welch, Kansas City Star, 1 Apr. 2024 Redshirt freshman Ice Brady was the only player to come off the bench in UConn’s regional semifinal game against Duke in which the Huskies let a 20-point third-quarter lead dissolve to five late in the fourth quarter of a 53-45 win. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'late.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

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

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of late was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near late

Cite this Entry

“Late.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/late. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

late

1 of 2 adjective
later; latest
1
a
: coming or remaining after the due, usual, or proper time
a late spring
b
: of or relating to an advanced stage in time or development
the late Middle Ages
especially : far advanced toward the close of the day or night
late hours
2
a
: having died or held some position or relationship recently
the late president
b
: recent sense 1b
a late discovery
lateness noun

late

2 of 2 adverb
later; latest
1
a
: after the usual or proper time
came in late
b
: at or to an advanced point in time
later in the day
2
: not long ago
a musician late of Chicago
Etymology

Adjective

Old English læt "late, slow" — related to last entry 4

More from Merriam-Webster on late

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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