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



    • IPA: /leɪt/
    • Rhymes: -eɪt

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English late, lat, from Old English læt ( “slow; slack, lax, negligent; late” ), from Proto-Germanic *lataz ( “slow, lazy” ), from Proto-Indo-European *lē( y )d- ( “to weaken, tire, relax, subside” ). Cognate with Scots lat ( “late” ), West Frisian let ( “late” ), Dutch laat ( “late” ), German lass ( “dull, limp” ), Swedish lat ( “idle, lazy” ), Icelandic latur ( “lazy” ), Latin lassus ( “weary, faint” ) .


    late ( comparative later, superlative latest )

    1. Near the end of a period of time .
      It was late in the evening when we finally arrived .
    2. Specifically, near the end of the day .
      It was getting late and I was tired .
    3. ( usually not used comparatively ) Associated with the end of a period .
      Late Latin is less fully inflected than classical Latin .
    4. Not arriving until after an expected time .
      Even though we drove as fast as we could, we were still late .
      Panos was so late that he arrived at the meeting after Antonio, who had the valid excuse of being in hospital - in intensive care - for most of the night .
    5. Not having had an expected menstrual period .
      I'm late, honey. Could you buy a test?
    6. ( not comparable, euphemistic ) Deceased, dead: used particularly when speaking of the dead person's actions while alive. ( Often used with the; see usage notes. )
      Her late husband had left her well provided for .
      The piece was composed by the late Igor Stravinsky .
    7. Recent — relative to the noun it modifies .
      1914, Robert Frost, North of Boston, "A Hundred Collars":
    Usage notes


    late ( plural: lates )

    1. ( informal ) A shift ( scheduled work period ) that takes place late in the day or at night.

    Etymology 2

    From Old English late


    late ( comparative later, superlative latest )

    1. After a deadline has passed, past a designated time .
      We drove as fast as we could, but we still arrived late .

    Etymology 3

    From Middle English, from Old Norse lát ( plural: læti ) ( “conduct, demeanour, voice, sound”, literally “let, letting, loss” ), from Proto-Germanic *lētijan ( “behaviour” ), from Proto-Indo-European *lēid-, *lēy- ( “to leave, let” ). Cognate with Middle Low German lāt ( “outward appearance, gesture, manner” ), Old English lǣtan ( “to let” ). More at let .


    late ( plural: lates )

    1. ( dialectal or obsolete ) Manner; behaviour; outward appearance or aspect .
    2. ( dialectal or obsolete ) A sound; voice .
      Than have we liking to lithe the lates of the foules. ― King Alexander .

    Derived terms

    See also

    • 2009 April 3, Peter T. Daniels, "Re: Has 'late' split up into a pair of homonyms?", message-ID <bdb13686-a6e4-43cd-8445-efe353365394@l13g2000vba.googlegroups.com>, alt.usage.english and sci.lang, Usenet .




    Adverbial form of læt



    1. late

Explanation of late by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. later than usual or than expected

    2. the train arrived late
      we awoke late
      the children came late to school
      I belatedly wished her a happy birthday
    3. in the recent past

    4. lately the rules have been enforced
      as late as yesterday she was fine
      feeling better of late
    5. to an advanced time

    6. talked late into the evening
    7. at an advanced age or stage

    8. she married late
      undertook the project late in her career
    1. having died recently

    2. her late husband
    3. being or occurring at an advanced period of time or after a usual or expected time

    4. late evening
      late 18th century
      a late movie
      took a late flight
      had a late breakfast
    5. at or toward an end or late period or stage of development

    6. the late phase of feudalism
      a later symptom of the disease
      later medical science could have saved the child
    7. of a later stage in the development of a language or literature

    8. Late Greek
    9. ( used especially of persons ) of the immediate past

    10. our late President is still very active
    11. of the immediate past or just previous to the present time

    12. a late development
      their late quarrel
    13. after the expected or usual time

    14. a belated birthday card
      I'm late for the plane
      the train is late

    Definition of late by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Late ( lāt ), a. [Compar. Later ( lātẽr ), or latter ( lăttẽr ); superl. Latest ( lātĕst ) or Last ( lȧst ).] [OE. lat slow, slack, AS. læt; akin to OS. lat, D. laat late, G. lass weary, lazy, slack, Icel. latr, Sw. lat, Dan. lad, Goth. lats, and to E. let, v. See Let to permit, and cf. Alas, Lassitude.]
      1. Coming after the time when due, or after the usual or proper time; not early; slow; tardy; long delayed; as, “a late spring”.

      2. Far advanced toward the end or close; as, “a late hour of the day; a late period of life.”

      3. Existing or holding some position not long ago, but not now; recently deceased, departed, or gone out of office; as, “the late bishop of London; the late administration.”

      4. Not long past; happening not long ago; recent; as, “the late rains; we have received late intelligence.”

      5. Continuing or doing until an advanced hour of the night; as, “late revels; a late watcher.”

    2. Late, adv. [AS. late. See Late, a.]
      1. After the usual or proper time, or the time appointed; after delay; as, “he arrived late”; -- opposed to early.

      2. Not long ago; lately.

      3. Far in the night, day, week, or other particular period; as, “to lie abed late; to sit up late at night.”

      Of late, in time not long past, or near the present; lately; as, “the practice is of late uncommon”. -- Too late, after the proper or available time; when the time or opportunity is past.