latter

[lat-er]
See more synonyms for latter on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. being the second mentioned of two (distinguished from former): I prefer the latter offer to the former one.
  2. more advanced in time; later: in these latter days of human progress.
  3. near or comparatively near to the end: the latter part of the century.
  4. Obsolete. last1; final.

Origin of latter

before 1000; Middle English latt(e)re, Old English lætra, comparative of læt late
Can be confusedformer later latterladder latter

late

[leyt]
adjective, lat·er or lat·ter, lat·est or last.
  1. occurring, coming, or being after the usual or proper time: late frosts; a late spring.
  2. continued until after the usual time or hour; protracted: a late business meeting.
  3. near or at the end of day or well into the night: a late hour.
  4. belonging to the time just before the present moment; most recent: a late news bulletin.
  5. immediately preceding the present one; former: the late attorney general.
  6. recently deceased: the late Mr. Phipps.
  7. occurring at an advanced stage in life: a late marriage.
  8. belonging to an advanced period or stage in the history or development of something: the late phase of feudalism.
adverb, lat·er, lat·est.
  1. after the usual or proper time, or after delay: to arrive late.
  2. until after the usual time or hour; until an advanced hour, especially of the night: to work late.
  3. at or to an advanced time, period, or stage: The flowers keep their blossoms late in warm climates.
  4. recently but no longer: a man late of Chicago, now living in Philadelphia.
Idioms
  1. 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 formslate·ness, nouno·ver·late, adjectiveo·ver·late·ness, noun
Can be confusedformer later latter

Synonyms for late

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for latter

Contemporary Examples of latter

Historical Examples of latter

  • Philippe had turned with evident distress toward the latter.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • What if the latter should light on some of his various hiding places for money?

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • To the disgust of the latter, Robert actually had the presumption to walk home with Hester.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • They reached the office of Fouts, in the, latter street, just as the Exchange had closed.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The latter was equally plausible; but, if it came, would it not be preferable to the other?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson


British Dictionary definitions for latter

latter

adjective (prenominal)
    1. denoting the second or second mentioned of two: distinguished from former
    2. (as noun; functioning as sing or plural)the latter is not important
  1. near or nearer the endthe latter part of a film
  2. more advanced in time or sequence; later

usage

The latter should only be used to refer to the second of two items: many people choose to go by hovercraft rather than use the ferry, but I prefer the latter. The last of three or more items can be referred to as the last-named

late

adjective
  1. occurring or arriving after the correct or expected timethe train was late
  2. (prenominal) occurring, scheduled for, or being at a relatively advanced timea late marriage
  3. (prenominal) towards or near the endthe late evening
  4. at an advanced time in the evening or at nightit was late
  5. (prenominal) occurring or being just previous to the present timehis late remarks on industry
  6. (prenominal) having died, esp recentlymy late grandfather
  7. (prenominal) just preceding the present or existing person or thing; formerthe late manager of this firm
  8. of late recently; lately
adverb
  1. after the correct or expected timehe arrived late
  2. at a relatively advanced ageshe married late
  3. recently; latelyas late as yesterday he was selling books
  4. late hours rising and going to bed later than is usual
  5. late in the day
    1. at a late or advanced stage
    2. too late
Derived Formslateness, noun

Word Origin for late

Old English læt; related to Old Norse latr, Gothic lats

usage

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
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 latter
adj.

Old English lætra "slower," comparative of læt "late" (see late (adj.)). Sense of "second of two" first recorded 1550s. The modern later is a formation from mid-15c.

late

adj.

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

Idioms and Phrases with latter

late

In addition to the idioms beginning with late

  • late in life
  • late in the day

also see:

  • at the latest
  • better late than never
  • Johnny-come-lately
  • keep late hours
  • of late
  • the latest
  • too little, too late

Also see underlater.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.