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[aft, ahft] /æft, ɑft/ Nautical, Aeronautics
at, close to, or toward the stern or tail:
Stow the luggage aft.
situated toward or at the stern or tail:
The aft sail was luffing.
Origin of aft1
before 950; Middle English afte, Old English æftan from behind, equivalent to æf- opposite + -t- suffix of uncertain value + -an suffix marking motion from; cognate with Old Frisian efta, Old Saxon, Old High German aftan, Gothic aftana, Old Norse aptan, Greek opís(s)ō behind; not akin to Greek apó off


[aft, ahft] /æft, ɑft/
adverb, Scot.




American Federation of Teachers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for aft
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Trant now called the Scourges aft, and asked more of the particulars.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The mate ordered me aft, and I crawled upon the quarter-deck to be examined.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Fore and aft were circular partitions of steel, like drumheads.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • aft, preparations were making of a more permanent nature, it is true.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • Anybody can see he's built for speed, narrow in the beam and sharp fore and aft.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • But I was aft, looking after the steering, and she did not catch me napping that time.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • Other wires ran down the foremast to a little cubby just aft of it.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • The Fore and aft continued to go forward, but with shortened stride.

    Soldiers Three, Part II. Rudyard Kipling
British Dictionary definitions for aft


adverb, adjective
(mainly nautical) towards or at the stern or rear: the aft deck, aft of the engines
Word Origin
C17: perhaps a shortened form of earlier abaft
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aft

Old English æftan "from behind, behind, farthest back," from superlative of Old English æf, af, of "away, away from, off" (see of). The Germanic superlative suffix *-ta corresponds to PIE *-to (cf. Greek protos "first," superlative of pro "before"). Now purely nautical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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