\ ˈlāt How to pronounce late (audio) \
later; latest

Definition of late

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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
2a : 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


later; latest

Definition of late (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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

Other Words from late


lateness noun

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! See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But just because something is hard and just because something happened 100 years ago, Hahn said, doesn’t mean it’s too late to try. Rosanna Xiastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 Powell, who was late to recognize the inflation threat last year and was surprised again last month at how quickly prices rose in May, acknowledges the road ahead is unclear. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, 20 June 2022 Scheffler made a run of four wins in seven weeks earlier in the season, but has cooled off as of late. Joe Arruda, Hartford Courant, 18 June 2022 Dire warnings from governments across the world should remind businesses to step up their defenses before it’s too late. Brent Mccarty, Forbes, 16 June 2022 It’s too late to stop catastrophic climate change, many people fear. oregonlive, 13 June 2022 Olmsted Township police have seen some vandalism and disturbances after curfew hours -- some as late as 2:30 a.m. cleveland, 13 June 2022 Zuckerman’s discoveries came too late to change the way soldiers were armed during the Second World War. Phil Klay, The New Yorker, 11 June 2022 In the message, Nina begged her to pack up and leave Siversk before it’s too late, promising an apartment and financial support for her and her family. Gabe Joselow, NBC News, 9 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Samantha McClintock, 26, and Ryan Wullf, 31, both of Phoenix, arrived late to the Roe v. Wade ruling protest and were in the crowd that was hit with tear gas. Stacey Barchenger, The Arizona Republic, 24 June 2022 Buyers beat out short-sellers in Hong Kong as short sale volume was up today but fell to 15% of Hong Kong turnover from the low 20% range of late. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 24 June 2022 According to the contestants, catchy hooks have been hard to find of late. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 24 June 2022 Rhys spent decades, often isolated and paranoid, in lumpen houses and apartments in and out of London, before success arrived late. New York Times, 20 June 2022 The United States arrived late to the big-navy party. Jonathan W. Jordan, WSJ, 27 May 2022 On Tuesday morning, Miguel Cerrillo’s 11-year old daughter Miah arrived late to school after a doctor’s appointment. Anchorage Daily News, 26 May 2022 And one pitch later, Jordan Lyles struck Hernández out, stranding the bases loaded in a gritty display that has been missing from the Orioles right-hander of late. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 15 June 2022 The broader tech industry has indeed been undergoing its own reckoning of late. Declan Harty, Fortune, 13 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of late


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


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

History and Etymology for late

Adjective and Adverb

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

Learn More About late

Time Traveler for late

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near late



late blight

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Statistics for late

Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Late.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for late


\ ˈlāt How to pronounce late (audio) \
later; latest

Kids Definition of late

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 sense 2 a late discovery

Other Words from late

lateness noun Do you realize the lateness of the hour?


later; latest

Kids Definition of late (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on late

Nglish: Translation of late for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of late for Arabic Speakers


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