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Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective late contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of late are dead, deceased, defunct, and departed. While all these words mean "devoid of life," late is used especially with reference to a person in a specific relation or status.

the company's late president

In what contexts can dead take the place of late?

In some situations, the words dead and late are roughly equivalent. However, 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

How is deceased related to other words for late?

Deceased, departed, and late apply to persons who have died recently. Deceased is the preferred term in legal use.

the estate of the deceased

When is defunct a more appropriate choice than late?

The synonyms defunct and late are sometimes interchangeable, but defunct stresses cessation of active existence or operation.

a defunct television series

When could departed be used to replace late?

Although the words departed and late have much in common, departed is used usually as a euphemism.

our departed sister

Thesaurus Entries Near late

Cite this Entry

“Late.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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