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[leyt] /leɪt/
adjective, later or latter, latest or last.
occurring, coming, or being after the usual or proper time:
late frosts; a late spring.
continued until after the usual time or hour; protracted:
a late business meeting.
near or at the end of day or well into the night:
a late hour.
belonging to the time just before the present moment; most recent:
a late news bulletin.
immediately preceding the present one; former:
the late attorney general.
recently deceased:
the late Mr. Phipps.
occurring at an advanced stage in life:
a late marriage.
belonging to an advanced period or stage in the history or development of something:
the late phase of feudalism.
adverb, later, latest.
after the usual or proper time, or after delay:
to arrive late.
until after the usual time or hour; until an advanced hour, especially of the night:
to work late.
at or to an advanced time, period, or stage:
The flowers keep their blossoms late in warm climates.
recently but no longer:
a man late of Chicago, now living in Philadelphia.
of late, lately; recently:
The days have been getting warmer of late.
Origin of late
before 900; Middle English; Old English læt slow, late; cognate with German lass slothful, Old Norse latr, Gothic lats slow, lazy, Latin lassus tired
Related forms
lateness, noun
overlate, adjective
overlateness, noun
Can be confused
former, later, latter.
1. tardy; slow, dilatory; delayed, belated. 4. See modern. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for late
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Since he went to Salamis in search of you, I have not seen him until late this evening.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Have you not of late struggled against the warnings of this friendly spirit?

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • They walked rapidly to the station, but too late, of course, for the train.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Made rather a late start, owing to some of the horses straying.

  • It was a very good season, but the expedition was too late in starting.

British Dictionary definitions for late


occurring or arriving after the correct or expected time: the train was late
(prenominal) occurring, scheduled for, or being at a relatively advanced time: a late marriage
(prenominal) towards or near the end: the late evening
at an advanced time in the evening or at night: it was late
(prenominal) occurring or being just previous to the present time: his late remarks on industry
(prenominal) having died, esp recently: my late grandfather
(prenominal) just preceding the present or existing person or thing; former: the late manager of this firm
of late, recently; lately
after the correct or expected time: he arrived late
at a relatively advanced age: she married late
recently; lately: as late as yesterday he was selling books
late hours, rising and going to bed later than is usual
late in the day
  1. at a late or advanced stage
  2. too late
Derived Forms
lateness, noun
Usage note
Since late can mean deceased, many people think it is better to avoid using this word to refer to the person who held a post or position before its present holder: the previous (not the late) editor of The Times
Word Origin
Old English læt; related to Old Norse latr, Gothic lats
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 late

Old English læt "occurring after the customary or expected time," originally "slow, sluggish," from Proto-Germanic *lata- (cf. Old Norse latr "sluggish, lazy," Middle Dutch, Old Saxon lat, German laß "idle, weary," Gothic lats "weary, sluggish, lazy," latjan "to hinder"), from PIE *led- "slow, weary" (cf. Latin lassus "faint, weary, languid, exhausted," Greek ledein "to be weary"), from root *le- "to let go, slacken" (see let (v.)).

The sense of "deceased" (as in the late Mrs. Smith) is from late 15c., from an adverbial sense of "recently." Of women's menstrual periods, attested colloquially from 1962. Related: Lateness. As an adverb, from Old English late.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with late
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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