\ 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 personsthe late John Doe and often with reference to a specific relationship or statushis 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

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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!
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Including the latest finds, Project Recovery has located 28 aircraft and ensured the repatriation of 13 sets of remains to date. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Three U.S. Planes Lost During World War II Found in Pacific Lagoon," 25 Feb. 2020 In the latest mailings, the term did not appear on the outside. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "GOP fundraising mailings are deceptive, experts say," 25 Feb. 2020 Other than a late run at the end courtesy of DePaul's full-court press, Xavier dominated the Blue Demons three weeks ago in Chicago. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "'It's on': Xavier basketball needs to respond Tuesday in a key Big East matchup vs. DePaul," 24 Feb. 2020 Plus, the latest news on AI 🏃🏽‍♀️ Want the best tools to get healthy? Wired Cartoons, Wired, "Today’s Cartoon: February 24, 2020," 24 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, a few blocks away, a mobster known as the Elephant, a holdover from back when the neighborhood was mostly Italian, gets a visit from a man known as the Governor, who purports to be an old friend of the Elephant’s late father. Jonathan Dee, The New Yorker, "Fate and Fury in James McBride’s “Deacon King Kong”," 24 Feb. 2020 Also featured are Simone Biles, Bun B, the late Dr. Michael DeBakey and a pink astronaut. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "New mural at Ninfa's Uptown features Houston notables from J.J. Watt to Beyoncé," 24 Feb. 2020 Even as the latest global economic upswing has boosted employment across the rich world, output has remained sluggish. The Economist, "Daily chart Are there too many central bankers?," 24 Feb. 2020 At the same time, the senator’s latest win, and his momentum ahead of next Saturday’s South Carolina primary and the Super Tuesday contests March 3, are stirring increasing anxiety among some establishment Democrats who believe a more centrist... Eliza Collins, WSJ, "Bernie Sanders Looks Ahead After Nevada Caucus Win," 24 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb An unanticipated problem was encountered, check back soon and try again This week in late-night television, the celebrity guests really upped the ante on their appearances! Heather Gardner, EW.com, "This week's best in late-night: Bill Murray gives advice from the tub, Seth McFarlane sings impressions," 15 May 2020 Perhaps the most common narrative on this Reddit forum as of late has been from opioid users experiencing health problems and fears of catching coronavirus. Fernando Alfonso Iii, CNN, "The pandemic is triggering opioid relapses across Appalachia," 14 May 2020 Realising of late the domestic help’s value, both men and women have found in the spin mop a reliable companion. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Urban India has found the perfect symbol for its lockdown purgatory: a mop," 14 May 2020 The Browns better have figured out how to win on the road by then, because the stakes will be very high that late in the season. cleveland, "Baker Mayfield will be tested right out of the gate vs. Ravens & other Browns 2020 schedule takeaways," 10 May 2020 Edgar Bennett's touchdown late in the third quarter was a dagger. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: B.J. Raji takes it to the house and the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC title game," 9 May 2020 Way back in 1996, General Motors' late lamented EV1 BEV cut through the air with a Cd of just 0.19. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "These streamliners are the world’s most aerodynamic cars," 8 May 2020 But these measures have been late in coming as some African governments have escalated their actions beyond the initial condemnation of events. Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Quartz Africa, "After its racism to Africans goes global, a Chinese province is taking anti-discrimination measures," 5 May 2020 Back then, kids, there was only one late-night TV talk show and Johnny was it. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Untold Stories: The day Plennie Wingo changed Scott Ostler’s journalism career," 3 May 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for late

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for late

Cite this Entry

“Late.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/late. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for late



English Language Learners Definition of late

: at or near the end of a period of time or a process, activity, series, etc.
: after the usual or expected time
\ 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on late

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for late

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with late

Spanish Central: Translation of late

Nglish: Translation of late for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of late for Arabic Speakers

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