tar·​dy | \ ˈtär-dē How to pronounce tardy (audio) \
tardier; tardiest

Definition of tardy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : moving slowly : sluggish the tardy pace at which she was obliged to walk— Charles Dickens
2 : delayed beyond the expected or proper time : late a tardy arrival


plural tardies

Definition of tardy (Entry 2 of 2)

: an instance of being tardy (as to a class)

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Examples of tardy in a Sentence


She was tardy to work. They were tardy in filing the application.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Despite a tardy arrival, though, Colorado’s summer finished warmer than average and considerably drier than average, according to official statistics from the National Centers for Environmental Information. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Colorado summer finishes hotter and drier than average," 12 Sep. 2019 Maybe your tardy co-worker is dealing with significant medical issues and needs to go to the doctor regularly. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Quarterbacks to co-workers: The prevailing power of empathy," 8 Sep. 2019 Well it’s effort, being on time, being at practice, taking care of your body, picking up your table at lunch and not being tardy to class. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "Football: Talented Eagles hope attention to detail helps fuel deep run," 14 Aug. 2019 But there’s also something either tired, tardy or tidily opportunistic about this video. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "For Taylor Swift, Is Ego Stronger Than Pride?," 18 June 2019 The screeching sound was tardy; Minnesota’s play had been alarmingly bad since late in the second quarter. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Antoine Winfield deja vu: This time, Gophers top Fresno State 38-35 in 2 OT thriller," 8 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, Adair’s function, beyond terrorizing contractors who are tardy in delivering custom furnishing, is to run their house, to manage their business affairs, to be a sensible guy and a charming plus-one. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "Why “Styling Hollywood” Is One of the Best Celebrity-Stylist Reality Shows," 30 Aug. 2019 Again, Lauer was slightly tardy as the fifth began. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Lauer sweating his breaking pitches; Austin Allen gets his May day," 27 Aug. 2019 Its potential new owners think its tardy bell could ring again as soon as 2021. Joe Rubino, The Denver Post, "Plans to redevelop Denver’s historic Evans School no longer just academic, potential buyers say," 7 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His tardy and limp comments about peaceful demonstrations came only after congressional resolutions and John McCain’s Senate tongue-lashing for their absence. Andrew Malcolm, San Francisco Chronicle, "Trump is handling Iran just right, but his positive actions aren’t reported," 11 Jan. 2018 Shattered-bat grounder went to Xander Bogaerts, who was a fraction tardy in making the flip-feed, which cost Boston the double play. Dennis Manoloff, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Indians overwhelm Red Sox ace Chris Sale, again -- DMan's weekly report," 27 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tardy.' 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 tardy


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1960, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tardy


alteration of earlier tardif, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *tardivus, from Latin tardus

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Learn More about tardy

Dictionary Entries near tardy

tardive dyskinesia


tar drum



tare grass


Statistics for tardy

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tardy

The first known use of tardy was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for tardy



English Language Learners Definition of tardy

: slow in moving, acting, or happening
: done or happening late
: arriving or doing something late


tar·​dy | \ ˈtär-dē How to pronounce tardy (audio) \
tardier; tardiest

Kids Definition of tardy

: not on time : late

Other Words from tardy

tardiness \ ˈtär-​dē-​nəs \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on tardy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tardy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tardy

Spanish Central: Translation of tardy

Nglish: Translation of tardy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tardy for Arabic Speakers

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