adjective, tar·di·er, tar·di·est.

late; behind time; not on time: How tardy were you today?
moving or acting slowly; slow; sluggish.
delaying through reluctance.

Nearby words

  1. tardigrade,
  2. tardive,
  3. tardive cyanosis,
  4. tardive dyskinesia,
  5. tardo,
  6. tare,
  7. tarentum,
  8. targe,
  9. target,
  10. target cell

Origin of tardy

1475–85; earlier tardive, tardif < Old French < Vulgar Latin *tardīvus, equivalent to Latin tard(us) slow + -īvus -ive

Related formstar·di·ly, adverbtar·di·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tardiness

  • Tardiness is reported to be much less in home credit schools.

    School Credit for Home Work|Lewis Raymond Alderman
  • Tardiness is a disappointment and an interruption; a kind of falsehood and theft of time.

    The Choctaw Freedmen|Robert Elliott Flickinger
  • Tardiness on the part of any pupil doing the work meant a loss of so many credits already accumulated.

    School Credit for Home Work|Lewis Raymond Alderman

British Dictionary definitions for tardiness


adjective -dier or -diest

occurring later than expectedtardy retribution
slow in progress, growth, etca tardy reader
Derived Formstardily, adverbtardiness, noun

Word Origin for tardy

C15: from Old French tardif, from Latin tardus slow

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 tardiness



late 14c. (implied in tardity), from Old French tardif (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *tardivus, from Latin tardus "slow, sluggish, dull, stupid," of unknown origin. Related: Tardily; tardiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper