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

Adjective She was tardy to work. They were tardy in filing the application.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Fifteen or 20 minutes away, enough lost time to make shift workers late to clock in and desk jockeys tardy enough to catch the eye of the dude in the corner office. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Mass Transit Is in Jeopardy—and So Are Cities," 14 Dec. 2020 Belated efforts by his family to reach out now strike as suspect and tardy. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Bryan Washington’s ‘Memorial’ is a tender look at modern family life," 27 Oct. 2020 The latest deadlock was Oct. 20, two weeks before the election, over how to handle a complaint that the Milwaukee Election Commission had been tardy in informing voters of a massive reduction in polling locations before the April 7 primary. Vanessa Swales, ProPublica, "With All Eyes on Wisconsin, Partisan Gridlock at State Elections Commission Frustrates Voters and Local Officials," 26 Oct. 2020 The often-tardy president surprised aides by wrapping up early. Michael C. Bender And Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Inside the Week That Shook the Trump Campaign," 21 Oct. 2020 Problems await across the nation, in part because states leave the cutoff for requesting ballots too close to Election Day, resulting in tardy voting, said Tammy Patrick, a senior adviser on elections at the Democracy Fund. Todd Shields, Bloomberg.com, "Black Voters’ Mail-Ballot Rejections Are a Warning for Democrats," 25 Sep. 2020 No commander in chief in recent memory, however, was so often tardy as Clinton. Will Weissert, Star Tribune, "'Bidin' his time': Joe Biden battles being chronically late," 22 Sep. 2020 Could anyone have imagined in 1945 that nearly half a century would elapse before a memorial to the men and women who fought and died during World War II would be dedicated by a grateful -- if rather tardy -- nation? Arkansas Online, "OPINION | DAVID VON DREHLE: Memorial to leadership," 19 Sep. 2020 The accompanying power brownouts, tardy responses, and official blame-gaming will follow as a prelude for still more solar-panel farms and still less forest management. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Same Old, Same Old California Suicide," 15 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The casting is, for the most part, quite good, if a little tardy in showcasing more marquee-worthy members. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Stand' turns Stephen King's epic book into what feels like a very long sit," 17 Dec. 2020 Three snaps later, on fourth-and-5, Garoppolo’s tardy and off-target sideline throw toward Taylor, who was briefly open, meant a first down became a game-sealing pass breakup for cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Shanahan spreads blame on Garoppolo’s two late-game misfires," 14 Sep. 2020 Online doors opened via Zoom promptly at 8 a.m., with a tardy recorded after 8:15 a.m. Students’ presence was required for the duration with live classes, including physical education via Zoom and a social hour. Rifat Malik, Dallas News, "‘One of our finest hours’: Richardson school for Muslim girls tackles the fourth ‘R’ — resilience," 1 July 2020 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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Time Traveler for tardy

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tardy

Last Updated

23 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tardy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tardy. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for tardy


How to pronounce tardy (audio)

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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Comments on tardy

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