after all, despite what has occurred or been assumed previously; nevertheless: I've discovered I can attend the meeting after all.

Origin of after

before 900; Middle English; Old English æfter; cognate with Old Frisian efter, Old Saxon, Old High German after, Gothic aftaro, Old Norse eptir; equivalent to æf- (see aft1) + -ter suffix of comparison and polarity (cognate with Greek -teros)

Synonym study

1. See behind. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for afters

Contemporary Examples of afters

Historical Examples of afters

  • "A clump of square rigged, and fore and afters, sir," was the response.

  • The fore and afters were the ropes secured to the side corners, and they, on being hauled taut and belayed, held it out square.

    Pincher Martin, O.D.

    H. Taprell Dorling

British Dictionary definitions for afters


noun (functioning as singular or plural) British

informal dessert; sweet
slang a confrontation or physical violence between football players immediately after they have been involved in a challenge for the ball



following in time; in succession toafter dinner; time after time
following; behindthey entered one after another
in pursuit or search ofchasing after a thief; he's only after money
concerningto inquire after his health
consideringafter what you have done, you shouldn't complain
next in excellence or importance tohe ranked Jonson after Shakespeare
in imitation of; in the manner ofa statue after classical models
in accordance with or in conformity toa man after her own heart
with a name derived fromMary was named after her grandmother
US past (the hour of)twenty after three
after all
  1. in spite of everythingit's only a game, after all
  2. in spite of expectations, efforts, etche won the race after all!
after you please go, enter, etc, before me


at a later time; afterwards
coming afterwards; in pursuit
nautical further aft; sternwards


(subordinating) at a time later than that at whichhe came after I had left


nautical further aftthe after cabin

Word Origin for after

Old English æfter; related to Old Norse aptr back, eptir after, Old High German aftar
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 afters



Old English æfter "after, next, throughout, following in time, later," from Old English of "off" (see of) + -ter, a comparative suffix; thus the original meaning was "more away, farther off." Cf. Old Norse eptir "after," Old High German aftar, Gothic aftra "behind." Cognate with Greek apotero "farther off."

After hours "after regular working hours" is from 1861. Afterwit "wisdom that comes too late" is attested from c.1500 but seems to have fallen from use, despite being more needed now than ever. After you as an expression in yielding precedence is recorded by 1650.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with afters


In addition to the idioms beginning with after

  • after a fashion
  • after all
  • after all's said and done
  • after a sort
  • after a while
  • after hours
  • after one's own heart
  • after the fact

also see:

  • day after day
  • get after
  • go after
  • inquire after
  • keep after
  • live happily ever after
  • look after
  • morning after
  • name after
  • run after
  • see after
  • sought after
  • take after
  • throw good money after bad
  • time after time
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.