Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of after
Meaning of after by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms

    • afther
    • aftre ( obsolete )


    From Middle English after, from Old English æfter ( “after, along, behind, through, throughout, during, following, in consequence of, according to, for the purpose of, by means of, about, in pursuit of, for” ), from Proto-Germanic *after, *afteri ( “more aft, further behind” ), from Proto-Indo-European *apotero ( “further behind, further away” ), comparative form of *apo- ( “off, behind” ); see also Proto-Indo-European *h₂epo ( “off, away” ). Cognate with Scots efter ( “after” ), North Frisian efter ( “after, behind” ), Dutch/Low German achter ( “behind” ), German After ( “anus” ), Danish & Swedish efter ( “after” ), Norwegian etter ( “after” ), Icelandic eftir ( “after” ), Icelandic aftur ( “back, again” ). The Proto-Indo-European is the source of apo- ( “away, without” ), from Ancient Greek ἀπό ( apo ); comparative is also the source of Ancient Greek ἀπωτέρω ( apōterō ) .


    • ( UK ) IPA: /ˈɑːf.tə( ɹ )/, /ˈæf.tə( ɹ )/, X-SAMPA: /"A:f.t@( r\ )/, /"{f.t@( r\ )/
    • ( US ) IPA: /ˈæf.tɚ/, X-SAMPA: /"{ft@`( \r )/
    • Hyphenation: af‧ter


    after ( not comparable )

    1. Behind; later in time; following .
      They lived happily ever after .
      I left the room, and the dog bounded after .

    Derived terms



    1. Subsequently to; following in time; later than .
      We had a few beers after the game .
      The time is quarter after eight .
      The Cold War began shortly after the Second World War
    2. behind
      he will leave a trail of destruction after him
    3. in pursuit of, seeking
      he's after a job
      run after him
      inquire after her health
    4. in allusion to, in imitation of; following or referencing
      we named him after his grandfather
      a painting after Leonardo da Vinci
    5. next in importance or rank
      The princess is next in line to the throne after the prince .
    6. as a result of
      After your bad behaviour, you will be punished .
    7. in spite of
      After all that has happened, he is still my friend .
    8. ( Ireland, usually preceded by a form of be, followed by an -ing form of a verb ) Used to indicate recent completion of an activity
      I was after finishing my dinner when there was a knock on the door .
    9. ( obsolete ) according to an author or text

    Usage notes

    Derived terms



    1. Signifies that the action of the clause it starts takes place before the action of the other clause .
      I went home after we had decided to call it a day .



    1. ( dated ) Later; second ( of two ); next, following, subsequent
    2. ( nautical, where the frame of reference is within the ship ) At or towards the stern of a ship
      The after gun is mounted aft .
      The after gun is abaft the forward gun .

    Derived terms

    • afterness

    Related terms

    • aft
    • abaft
    • eft

    See also

    • Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans, "Spatial particles of orientation", in The Semantics of English Prepositions: Spatial Scenes, Embodied Meaning and Cognition, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 0-521-81430 8



    • trafe


    By Wiktionary ( 2012/04/18 18:19 UTC Version )


    From after ( adverb & preposition ), and also continuing Middle English after-, efter-, æfter-, from Old English æfter- ( “after, behind, against” ). Cognate with Scots efter-, West Frisian efter-, Dutch achter-, Swedish efter-. More at after .



    1. ( rare or no longer productive ) With contrary, subordinate, or remote effect; denoting hindrance, set-back, inferiority, etc .
      afterdeal, aftertale
    2. With adverbial or adjectival effect, forming compound words indicating something that comes afterwards in spacial position or time .
    3. With prepositional effect, forming compound words denoting something which follows the second element of the compound .

    Derived terms

Explanation of after by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. happening at a time subsequent to a reference time

    2. it didn't happen until afterward
      two hours after that
    3. behind or in the rear

    4. and Jill came tumbling after
    1. located farther aft

    Definition of after by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. After ( ȧfttẽr ), a. [AS. æfter after, behind; akin to Goth. aftaro, aftra, backwards, Icel. aptr, Sw. and Dan. efter, OHG. aftar behind, Dutch and LG. achter, Gr. ἀπωτέρω further off. The ending -ter is an old comparative suffix, in E. generally -ther ( as in other ), and after is a compar. of of, off. √194. See Of; cf. Aft.]
      1. Next; later in time; subsequent; succeeding; as, “an after period of life”. Marshall.

      ☞ In this sense the word is sometimes needlessly combined with the following noun, by means of a hyphen, as, after-ages, after-act, after-days, after-life. For the most part the words are properly kept separate when after has this meaning.

      2. Hinder; nearer the rear. ( Naut. ) To ward the stern of the ship; -- applied to any object in the rear part of a vessel; as the after cabin, after hatchway. It is often combined with its noun; as, “after-bowlines, after-braces, after-sails, after-yards, those on the mainmasts and mizzenmasts”.

      After body ( Naut. ), the part of a ship abaft the dead flat, or middle part.

    2. After, prep.
      1. Behind in place; as, “men in line one after another”. “Shut doors after you.” Shak.

      2. Below in rank; next to in order. Shak.

      Codrus after Phbus sings the best. Dryden.

      3. Later in time; subsequent; as, “after supper, after three days”. It often precedes a clause. Formerly that was interposed between it and the clause.

      After I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Matt. xxvi. 32.

      4. Subsequent to and in consequence of; as, “after what you have said, I shall be careful”.

      5. Subsequent to and notwithstanding; as, “after all our advice, you took that course”.

      6. Moving toward from behind; following, in search of; in pursuit of.

      Ye shall not go after other gods. Deut. vi. 14.

      After whom is the king of Israel come out? 1 Sam. xxiv. 14.

      7. Denoting the aim or object; concerning; in relation to; as, “to look after workmen; to inquire after a friend; to thirst after righteousness.”

      8. In imitation of; in conformity with; after the manner of; as, “to make a thing after a model; a picture after Rubens; the boy takes after his father.”

      To name or call after, to name like and reference to.

      Our eldest son was named George after his uncle. Goldsmith.

      9. According to; in accordance with; in conformity with the nature of; as, “he acted after his kind”.

      He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes. Isa. xi. 3.

      They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh. Rom. viii. 5.

      10. According to the direction and influence of; in proportion to; befitting. [Archaic]

      He takes greatness of kingdoms according to bulk and currency, and not after their intrinsic value. Bacon.

      After all, when everything has been considered; upon the whole. -- After ( with the same noun preceding and following ), as, wave after wave, day after day, several or many ( waves, etc. ) successively. -- One after another, successively. -- To be after, to be in pursuit of in order to reach or get; as, “he is after money”.

    3. After, adv. Subsequently in time or place; behind; afterward; as, “he follows after”.

      It was about the space of three hours after. Acts. v. 7.

      ☞ After is prefixed to many words, forming compounds, but retaining its usual signification. The prefix may be adverbial, prepositional, or adjectival; as in after- described, after-dinner, after-part. The hyphen is sometimes needlessly used to connect the adjective after with its noun. See Note under After, a., 1.