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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tardy


tardiness \ ˈtär-​dē-​nəs How to pronounce tardiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of tardy in a Sentence


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The race’s governing board faced criticism for the tardy release of the information. Washington Post, "Mushers focus on trail ahead as Alaska’s Iditarod kicks off," 4 Mar. 2018 Tehran is doing its own investigation of the commotion and the allegedly tardy arrival of Paris police, the news agency said. Fox News, "Iranian Embassy in Paris damaged; Tehran knocks police work," 15 Sep. 2018 Telephone message: Arrived, accurately, at 1:55 — a bit tardy — but delivered with courtesy and written in elegant cursive on Plaza notepaper. Fox, Town & Country, "A Table for Mr. Fox," 21 Nov. 2012 And along the South Carolina coast, where a little-known population winters, migrants pulsed through in unusual numbers in November, also two weeks tardy. Joe Trezza, Washington Post, "Monarch butterfly migration was off this year and researchers are worried," 20 Jan. 2018 Xenophobic views played a critical role in the tardy response to Zika in 2015-16. Ron Klain, Vox, "A pandemic killing tens of millions of people is a real possibility — and we are not prepared for it," 15 Oct. 2018 This year, there have been just two tardy states — including South Carolina, where lawmakers passed their budget before July 1, but the governor signed it a few days later. Joshua Miller And Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Mass. Legislature could strengthen Charlie Baker’s hand with budget delay," 12 July 2018 Something miles overdue, painfully tardy but addressed. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego's Willie O'Ree broke NHL color barrier, charted path to hockey Hall," 26 June 2018 The Government Accountability Office and Pentagon’s director of operational testing have criticized Lockheed for tardy delivery of parts in the $406 billion acquisition program. Anthony Capaccio, Bloomberg.com, "Lockheed’s F-35 Bonus Fees Under Scrutiny by Pentagon’s Watchdog," 21 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tardy

Dictionary Entries near tardy

tardive dyskinesia


tar drum



tare grass


Statistics for tardy

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tardy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on tardy

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


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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