[aft, ahft]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 aft

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]

adverb Scot.



American Federation of Teachers. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for aft

abaft, back, behind

Examples from the Web for aft

Contemporary Examples of aft

Historical Examples of aft

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for aft


adverb, adjective

mainly nautical towards or at the stern or rearthe aft deck; aft of the engines

Word Origin for aft

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

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