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See more synonyms for tardy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, tar·di·er, tar·di·est.
  1. late; behind time; not on time: How tardy were you today?
  2. moving or acting slowly; slow; sluggish.
  3. delaying through reluctance.
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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


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1. slack. 3. dilatory.


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

Examples from the Web for tardy

Historical Examples

  • "Tardy obedience is of the house of mutiny," I said sternly.

    To Have and To Hold

    Mary Johnston

  • Tardy recollection that she was altogether too heavy for comfort brought her to her feet.

  • Tardy is applied to that which is behind the proper or desired time, especially in doing a work or arriving at a place.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms

    James Champlin Fernald

  • Tardy restitution given to a long-suffering people; late righting of an ancient wrong!

    Vacation days in Greece

    Rufus B. Richardson

  • Tardy employees approached their work joyously, not stealthily, as is the normal custom of such miscreants.

British Dictionary definitions for tardy


adjective -dier or -diest
  1. occurring later than expectedtardy retribution
  2. slow in progress, growth, etca tardy reader
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Derived Formstardily, adverbtardiness, noun

Word Origin

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 tardy


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper