Definition of late in English:



  • 1Doing something or taking place after the expected, proper, or usual time:

    ‘his late arrival’
    ‘she was half an hour late for her lunch appointment’
    • ‘I rushed home, practically a half-hour late for work already.’
    • ‘Although, I'm sure Shawna was often fashionably late to her classes just like all of her popular friends.’
    • ‘Anyways, I showed up a few minutes late for the competition and missed the first two teams' routines.’
    • ‘Management loved him, except for the fact that he was always a few minutes late for work.’
    • ‘The Dublin band were late for the soundcheck, but their crew said to go ahead and set up and everything would be okay.’
    • ‘She had been asking for more breaks in the past week, and often coming in late for her shift.’
    • ‘Well - as always, Ann was late, I swear that girl will be late for her own funeral.’
    • ‘Even Chelsey claiming to be late for something and dashing off would be better.’
    • ‘There was a closed-door session for about an hour, and then one of the jurors was late for court.’
    • ‘But she says buses regularly fail to show up leaving her late for work.’
    • ‘I'd better hurry up, have my shower and get dressed or I'll be late for lunch.’
    • ‘Sometimes it makes me late for class, and sometimes I make excuses to stay in.’
    • ‘It results in missing hospital appointments or being late for appointments because there are no useable parking spaces.’
    • ‘She looked at her watch several times as she was getting worried that she would be late for an important meeting with a client.’
    • ‘Her plight is merely a bureaucratic blunder but she has left it too late to save the day.’
    • ‘I left my phone number and drove back to school, by now late for my rehearsal.’
    • ‘I then looked at the clock to realize that I was an hour late for work!’
    • ‘Arriving nearly an hour late for a scheduled meeting, she smiles and goes directly for the photo session.’
    • ‘Make-up and jewellery are worn openly and pupils are late for school ‘with impunity’.’
    • ‘But there were others who were late for meetings and getting quite angry.’
    behind time, behind schedule, behind, behindhand
    View synonyms
  • 2Belonging or taking place far on in a particular period:

    ‘they won the game with a late goal’
    ‘an elegantly dressed woman in her late fifties’
    • ‘They taste the best because the Cabernet grapes ripen late in the season - in September or even October.’
    • ‘Two late goals gave Crewe their first win since the opening day of the season as they beat Luton 3-1.’
    • ‘As the baby-boomers enter their mid to late fifties the issue of how we care for the aged is never far from the news headlines.’
    • ‘Allie was in her early twenties, young very pretty and I was in my late forties.’
    • ‘Mick was in his late fifties and is sadly missed by his wife Joan, brothers and sisters and a large circle of friends.’
    • ‘It seemed fitting fare for a late breakfast on a day you're giving to yourself.’
    • ‘The advancement of a counterclaim at this late stage did give me some concern.’
    • ‘And the six-year-old company spent the late 1990s developing software to connect Internet applications.’
    • ‘On the 25th December after a late, and simple breakfast, we walked along the beach and back into the palm groves.’
    • ‘But the other Sheffield side showed a bit of steel as they grabbed two late goals to guarantee the celebration had to be put on hold.’
    • ‘Fatima, in her late fifties, is a practising Muslim who prays and fasts but is not veiled.’
    • ‘I had arrived quite late in the day when dusk was falling.’
    • ‘Depending on the weather, Phil provides 25-40 gallons per tree per week late in the season.’
    • ‘It looked all over at that stage for the home team but they fought back admirably and got two late goals, one from the penalty spot.’
    • ‘The narrative halts for a paragraph to depict the dreary marsh landscape on a late winter afternoon.’
    • ‘Second of all, it comes so late in the game.’
    1. 2.1 Denoting or belonging to the advanced stage of a historical period or cultural movement:
      ‘the late 1960s’
      ‘late Gothic style’
      • ‘Following the baby boom, fertility rates declined over the late 1960s and 1970s.’
      • ‘Cobain guessed from his clothing that he was from the mid to late 1800s.’
      • ‘I recall when we made the major State sector reforms in the late 1980s.’
      • ‘Until the late sixth century, informed guesswork must make do for history.’
      • ‘The farm covered 1,000 acres and employed labourers as recently as the late 18th century.’
      • ‘Reporters in the late 1800s kept their stories short to save on telegraph charges.’
      • ‘By the late 1990s, about three-fourths of all Americans lived in urban areas.’
      • ‘I expect some passionate objections particularly to my coverage of the late 20th Century.’
      • ‘Now, in the late fifties, a debate began over whether to extend benefits to the unmarried.’
      • ‘Wheelchair Rugby is a sport that was developed in Canada in the late 1970s.’
      • ‘Faull added that the majority of people did not believe in the value of banknotes, right up until the late 19th century.’
      • ‘It is an historical fate for all late modern societies that we should welcome and make the best of.’
      • ‘They lived in Thorncliffe Road, off Fell Lane, Keighley from 1936 to the late sixties.’
      • ‘During the late 1800s, brass bands became a vital element of rural culture.’
      • ‘In the mid to late fifties, guys spent all their time souping up older cars with whatever parts they could find.’
      • ‘West Asian reform movements arrived in the late nineteenth century, sparking an Islamic revival.’
      • ‘Less than half of the adult population regularly attended church by the late 1980s.’
    2. 2.2 Far on in the day or night:
      ‘I'm sorry the call is so late’
      ‘it's too late for sherry’
      • ‘It is late afternoon and the stage glows orange as the sun is getting lower in the sky.’
      • ‘Off out on a search for football and cheap drinks - won't be a late night as have full day of lectures tomorrow and showing up hungover for them won't be good.’
      • ‘They are especially short on volunteers during the late night and early morning shifts.’
      • ‘A place which hums all day every day and where the working hours are late for everyone and a lunch break is still not very fashionable.’
      • ‘Deacon returned me to my home late in the evening with a promise to call me soon.’
      • ‘The behaviour of some of the late night revellers almost beggars belief.’
      • ‘Even the underage foreigners are tempted into the late night activities.’
      • ‘I knew I shouldn't have come out so late at night alone!’
      • ‘It was finally faxed through late last night, too late for most deadlines.’
      • ‘However, if you are invited to Ed's late night party, the gloves come off and it is Ed - no holds barred.’
      • ‘Take a stroll through the centre of the town late at night on any given weekend and you will see exactly what I'm on about.’
      • ‘Between household chores, she studied - late at night and early in the morning.’
      • ‘It has become a base for late night drinking parties which constantly disturb neighbouring residents.’
      • ‘No matter, I have started my regime of discipline - I am going to avoid late nights as best as I can.’
      • ‘She said the town had developed a bad reputation as a result of problems arising from late night take-aways.’
      • ‘The guys were keeping me up at night and I didn't sleep late in the mornings.’
      • ‘Misty evenings and star-studded night skies form the perfect backdrop for late night partying.’
    3. 2.3 Flowering or ripening towards the end of the season:
      ‘the last late chrysanthemums’
      • ‘Remove late flowers on peppers and eggplant to send more energy into the ripening fruit.’
      • ‘The white currant is White transparent, again a late flowering variety.’
      • ‘While in pruning mode, cut late flowering clematis hard back to a low pair of fat buds.’
      • ‘Acidantheras have a wonderful scent and are excellent for late flowering.’
  • 3the/one's late(of a specified person) no longer alive:

    ‘the late Francis Bacon’
    ‘her late husband's grave’
    • ‘The late King's grave is marked by an inscription in the floor and by a plaque, in the wall above, showing his head.’
    • ‘He was husband of the late Evelyn and was a popular and well liked member of the local rural community.’
    • ‘She said her husband's late sister had complained to the council on their behalf and they had understood something was going to be done.’
    • ‘This included her engagement ring given to her by her late husband.’
    • ‘It was at a dance that she met her late husband, Bill, who she married in 1937.’
    • ‘She was a devoted wife to her late husband Tom, and mother to her five children.’
    • ‘After the inquest his widow Joan described her late husband as a ‘gentleman in every sense of the word’.’
    • ‘If the late princess were still alive, however, she might have changed her mind about him.’
    • ‘Most of all, she said she draws to keep her late mother's and grandmother's spirit alive.’
    • ‘My naked face has been likened to a canvas by my late artist husband, and like a boiled egg by my own observation.’
    • ‘She may be going to the Supreme Court to get some money from her late husband.’
    • ‘This is the first time that Sheila, aged 46, has spoken publicly about her late husband.’
    • ‘Bridget was a hard worker as was her late husband James and together they reared a family of four in very difficult times.’
    • ‘He was husband of the late Kathleen and was a popular and prominent member of the local rural community.’
    • ‘I married my late husband when he was a widower after he retired and I accept that as a result I am not entitled to any pension from him.’
    • ‘It's a tape of her and her late husband talking about his financial plans for her.’
    • ‘For her late husband, David, who died this summer, was one of the villagers who had previously rung the bell.’
    • ‘The late Mary is survived by her devoted husband, Paddy and her son, daughter and grandchildren.’
    • ‘She and her late husband Jack, who died 20 years ago, took up bowls together.’
    • ‘I am sure, though, she will be comforted by the fact that her late husband touched the lives of so many in such a positive way.’
    dead, deceased, departed, lamented, passed away, passed on, lost, expired, gone, extinct, perished
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    1. 3.1 No longer having the specified status; former:
      ‘a late colleague of mine’
      previous, preceding, former, past, prior, earlier, as was, sometime, one-time, ex-, erstwhile, old, defunct, precedent, foregoing, no longer extant
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  • 4latestOf most recent date:

    ‘the latest news’
    • ‘Call the office regularly to keep up to speed with all the latest gossip and news.’
    • ‘She had a wall full of books on one side that went from murder to the latest fantasy fiction.’
    • ‘He was warning those people that are sporting the latest craze in flag waving to beware.’
    • ‘Not a single airline in the weaker group has reported a profit in the latest period.’
    • ‘It doesn't sound like he used his reduced workload to check out the latest releases.’
    • ‘Oh, and my latest book has come back from the printers and is due to arrive in shops soon.’
    • ‘United viewed his first stunt as amusing but the club was not impressed by the latest hoax.’
    • ‘This is the latest round in a fight over public services which has been going on for nearly a decade.’
    • ‘My latest hunch is that the letter is genuine but that the treasure has been lifted.’
    • ‘Would you like the latest radar gadgets to warn you that there is a speed trap around the corner?’
    • ‘It may not help that no question of policy or principle is allowed to arise from the latest turn.’
    • ‘I needed to change my address with them, and get another copy of the latest bill sent to me.’
    • ‘In the latest incident, the man was in bed asleep when his front door was kicked in.’
    • ‘He can revel in the feeling all summer long if things go according to the latest plans.’
    • ‘In fact their approach can be summed up by the quotation on the cover of this latest report.’
    • ‘So it's a surprise that their latest product jumps to the other end of the spectrum.’
    • ‘Hand guns and heroin were seized by drugs squad police in the latest Crack Down raids.’
    • ‘He loves all kinds of sport and is always phoning me up to find out the latest results.’
    • ‘There have as yet been no estimates as to what the cost of the latest campaign has been.’
    • ‘So it's hard to know how he will be feeling about the latest project bearing his name.’
    • ‘Reaction from those who have seen a model of the latest project has so far been mixed.’
    • ‘No longer do middle aged family men go to a show room and buy the latest four door saloon with a newer radio.’
    most recent, newest, brand new, just out, just released, fresh, present-day, up to date, up to the minute, state-of-the-art, current, modern, contemporary, modernistic, fashionable, in fashion, in vogue, voguish, bang up to date, in
    à la mode
    with it, trendy, hip, hot, happening, cool, now
    View synonyms


  • 1After the expected, proper, or usual time:

    ‘she arrived late’
    • ‘To be sure, one can arrive late and leave early, confounding the schedule's disciplining force.’
    • ‘He said hundreds of commuters already arrive late each day after sitting in buses crawling through rush-hour jams.’
    • ‘I arrived half an hour late because Dad lost his palm pilot and couldn't remember what time school started.’
    • ‘I sprang into action and started to run for the hole but remembered too late the girl behind me.’
    • ‘Eventually, clothing was suitably sorted and we set off, arriving a fashionable 30 minutes late.’
    • ‘Four hours later we boarded another plane and finally arrived in Vancouver late, but alive.’
    • ‘Department management has promised to make the payments no later than June 17.’
    • ‘While in Mexico, my host family and I would often arrive at events thirty or forty minutes late.’
    • ‘The second phase is expected to start late this year or early next year.’
    • ‘He came to interview me as defence secretary and arrived 45 minutes late.’
    • ‘If our mail arrived late we were advised this was due to staff shortages or holidays and the postman had to do another round first.’
    • ‘I arrived Shanghai late and tired so I will add more pictures tomorrow night on this page.’
    • ‘The unofficial action was expected to end late last evening, with services returning to normal by today.’
    • ‘He arrives late this morning, and is behaving out of character.’
    • ‘When the post arrives late it means my staff are waiting around.’
    • ‘The stewardess told them if they were to arrive another minute late, the plane would have already taken off.’
    • ‘She is late and I am edgy, expecting a group of tough females in hoods and trainers.’
    • ‘They arrived four minutes late and incurred a 40 second penalty which dropped them to fourth.’
    • ‘I arrived in Wolverhampton late this evening, as I'm doing a small part in a short film here tomorrow.’
    • ‘Cathy was never late and expected the same when you met her for dinner.’
    behind schedule, behind time, behindhand, unpunctually, belatedly, tardily, at the last minute, at the tail end
    after hours, after office hours, overtime, past the usual closing time, past the usual finishing time, past the usual stopping time
    View synonyms
  • 2Far on in time; towards the end of a period:

    ‘it happened late in 1994’
    • ‘That was in the context of a writ issued late in the limitation period.’
    • ‘It is believed that hormones are involved and women who have their first child late in life or who have no children are more at risk.’
    • ‘Then late in the summer comes the fateful day when you discover your results.’
    • ‘He won some points though late in August and I never made scalping jokes after that.’
    • ‘Rose selected only those flies that reproduced late in life and bred them with one another.’
    • ‘He commanded troops in Guangdong and advocated a fight to the finish late in the war.’
    • ‘Since I first moved to London late in 1989, Hungerford Bridge has been an important landmark for me.’
    • ‘In other words, it turned up on the Times website late in the morning of that day, Canberra time.’
    • ‘Smokers only eat to enjoy the fag afterwards, so food is a pleasure that I've discovered late in life.’
    • ‘Most are performed late in the second trimester, which ends at 27 weeks into pregnancy.’
    • ‘An absolute high point of achievement was to sing so late in his life, in the Reconciliation choir.’
    • ‘When he wrote his memoirs late in life, he recalled that this father had been a children's book writer.’
    • ‘The third and final partition that extinguished the Polish state came late in 1795.’
    • ‘A beautiful blue lake on its summit is frozen till late in the year and offers excellent skating ground.’
    • ‘Our family visited one of your immigration detention centres late in September.’
    • ‘When we visited it late in 1998 the foundations were laid for an extension to the building.’
    • ‘It had as much effect on the outcome as Brazil joining the Allies late in the Second World War.’
    • ‘Council chiefs say the new prices, due to come in late in January, are in line with neighbouring towns and cities.’
    • ‘These headlines are all drawn from just a three day period late in September.’
    • ‘The parties concluded their submissions late in the afternoon of Friday 1 September.’
    1. 2.1 At or until a time far on in the day or night:
      ‘now I'm old enough to stay up late’
      • ‘They had stayed up rather late the night before and Kelly was exhausted.’
      • ‘He'd stayed up late the night before with some of his younger generals and officers drinking to celebrate their return.’
      • ‘Do you advise staying up late the night before to revise?’
      • ‘So tired, as I got home really late last night (this morning) and then couldn't get off to sleep.’
      • ‘I stayed up late every night dreaming of being the lead singer of the greatest metal band.’
      • ‘I stayed up late every night and had my own bar vouchers, and was allowed to buy Cokes and ice creams.’
      • ‘Children were also to be made safer - safer from their irresponsible parents who allowed them to stay out late at night.’
      • ‘She had stayed up late every night and gotten up early every day to get in some more work and homework.’
      • ‘I stay up late at night reading stupid Philosophy readings and wake up early to read some more.’
      • ‘It was New Years Day, and everyone was a little sleepy from staying up so late the night before.’
      • ‘A calm morning, as if the gods partied late last night and they are still sleeping fitfully.’
      • ‘Try to get up at the same time every morning, even if you stayed up late the night before.’
      • ‘One night, she stayed so late he suggested she stay, putting a bolster in the middle of the bed so she wouldn't feel threatened.’
      • ‘She had stayed up considerably too late the night before and was definitely feeling the effects of it.’
      • ‘If anyone showed up or someone stayed late at night, a feast would be easily prepared.’
      • ‘She stayed at the store late every night to get extra practice and work more on her guitar.’
      • ‘Jo stays up late that night, but just as she is falling asleep she heard Beth sobbing in the next room.’
      • ‘It would probably help if I hadn't stayed up too late last night making a fiction index.’
      late at night, till the early hours of the morning
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2later At a time in the near future; soon or afterwards:
      ‘I'll see you later’
      ‘later on it will be easier’
  • 3late ofFormerly but not now living or working in a specified place or institution:

    ‘Mrs Halford, late of the County Records Office’


the latest
  • The most recent news or fashion:

    ‘have you heard the latest?’
    • ‘The driving incident is the latest in a series of problems experienced by the star.’
    • ‘The theft had been the latest in a series of misfortunes to befall the memorial garden.’
    • ‘This was the latest in a series of pickets which have occurred over the last three years.’
    • ‘The great Baltic Index Boom is the third and latest of the mighty booms of our age.’
    • ‘This is just the latest in a series of scams aimed at those trying to find work in the pub trade.’
    • ‘Residents say this is only the latest in a whole string of accidents at the same spot.’
    • ‘This is the latest in a spate of vandal attacks on fire crews and buses in the area.’
    • ‘This is the latest in a number of controversies to blow up over cemetery rules in the York area.’
    • ‘What is happening today is simply the latest in a series of epochal economic shifts.’
    • ‘The accident is the latest in a recent spate of serious hit and run collisions in the area.’
    • ‘The crimes are the latest in a series of thefts to have taken place around the area.’
    • ‘This is the latest in a long line of sightings of big cat-type creatures in the area.’
    • ‘The action is the latest in the five month dispute over plans to slash jobs and wages.’
    • ‘This is the latest in a series of injuries which have stretched the Lochcarron squad.’
    • ‘Norma was just the latest in a long line of partners who had abandoned me in despair.’
    • ‘An Teallach is the latest of our important natural heritage sites to come up for sale.’
    • ‘The vicious attack is the latest in a worrying number of burglaries to hit the area this year.’
    • ‘We've been hit with all sorts of things over the past few months and this is just the latest.’
    • ‘The strike is the latest in a wave of action on regional newspapers across Britain.’


  • at the latest

    • No later than the time specified:

      ‘all new cars will be required to meet this standard by 1997 at the latest’
      • ‘Schools are being asked to make sure their work is A4 in size and that all entries are received by tomorrow at the latest.’
      • ‘I suspect I shall be the talk of the office by lunch time at the latest.’
      • ‘Anyway we will have a guest book up and running from tomorrow or Friday at the latest so if you are dying to be a part of it all then you will have your chance.’
      • ‘Once a customer fulfills all the prerequisites the credit is approved within five days at the latest.’
      • ‘The answers will be prepared by officers by April at the latest.’
      • ‘A Justice Department spokesman said the advertising ban should be in place by the New Year at the latest.’
      • ‘The company says post should arrive by lunchtime at the latest.’
      • ‘Both buses leave Batley about one hour after the game, 6pm at the latest.’
      • ‘Make sure your entries are in by Friday lunchtime at the latest.’
      • ‘But Rosemary says the letters should have been sent by Monday at the latest.’
      • ‘Any remaining fraction of a share will be paid in cash when the distribution is made by November 7 at the latest.’
      • ‘If the army is to be ready for action before the Iraqi summer arrives, troops will need to be in the region by February at the latest.’
      • ‘Although it is uncertain when their affair began exactly, it is known that they were involved by 1968 at the latest.’
      • ‘After a dozen years at the latest, the two countries will both become part of the Mediterranean free trade zone.’
      • ‘The documents, along with those of other EU states, will be deposited at the United Nations by June at the latest.’
      • ‘It also emerged that by the end of March or April at the latest, the regional election headquarters will be formed.’
      • ‘Everyone is asked to be at the hotel by 8.30 pm at the latest as food will be served.’
      • ‘All train vehicles will have to be compliant with disabled access regulations by 2020 at the latest.’
      • ‘I should be out by the end of the week, or next Monday at the latest.’
      • ‘Due to the failure on the deal, the Cabinet announcement would likely be made by next Thursday at the latest.’
  • better late than never

    • It is better to do something or arrive after the expected time than not do it or arrive at all:

      ‘it took them the majority of the campaign to come to that conclusion, but better late than never’
      • ‘The website seems to have been very lethargic today, so I gave up after a while and went off to do more productive things—ah well, better late than never.’
      • ‘Well, better late than never, for the timing of this exhibition.’
      • ‘Better late than never, the newspaper ran a good review of the book over the weekend.’
      • ‘After breakfast the boys go straight to work on math—better late than never, right?’
      • ‘The team have probably left such a move about five years too late, but it's better late than never.’
  • late in the day (or north americangame)

    • At a late stage in proceedings, especially too late to be useful:

      ‘it's a bit late in the day to go into all this’
      • ‘Well, it was raised by the appellant rather late in the day, your Honour.’
      • ‘I put a lot of skepticism in anything a campaign or its supporters tell me about polls this late in the game.’
      • ‘White finally gets the right idea but rather too late in the day.’
      • ‘We talked all around the subject today without actually touching on it until really rather late in the day.’
      • ‘It just seems a little late in the day to be lamenting Edwardian repression.’
      • ‘As for disclosure, as we pointed out, that seems to be coming a bit late in the game.’
      • ‘This may be a bit late in the day for us to try to sort that out.’
      • ‘Numbness came a bit too late in the game for me, right on the heels of anger.’
      • ‘But the suggestion that it might have come a bit late in the day to resuscitate his reputation was left unsaid.’
      • ‘And it's a bit late in the day to be making major changes to an almost completed plan.’
      • ‘Observers on both sides predict a tight contest that will not be decided until late in the game.’
      • ‘There is disbelief that the US, rather late in the day, has decided that this is a crusade for human rights.’
      • ‘So I guess it's almost a little late in the game for a lot of folks to start evacuating in that area.’
      • ‘It is rather late in the day for the regulator to see the advantages of letting managers manage.’
      • ‘The two sides moved toward a compromise on this issue late in the day but remained short of an agreement.’
      • ‘A little late in the game, but we'd be at home for the holiday for the first time.’
      • ‘If he wanted to avoid tempting fate it's a bit late in the day.’
      • ‘I am no dog-breeder, but this seems rather late in the day for thinking of future litters.’
      • ‘Is it not a bit late in the day to talk of probe considering that the contracts were signed several years ago?’
  • of late

    • Recently:

      ‘she'd been drinking too much of late’
      • ‘The girls are training very hard of late and a full panel has been evident in recent weeks.’
      • ‘Does the party retain its basic commitment to the free market or has it become more communitarian of late?’
      • ‘A shame though, as I've been listening to her most recent two albums an awful lot of late.’
      • ‘This has been a problem for many years and has become a lot worse of late.’
      • ‘I am sure many readers would agree with me when I say that life seems to be increasingly hectic of late.’
      • ‘The new jobs of late have been in supermarkets and call-centres, not laboratories.’
      • ‘This is not a moan or a gripe but something that's been puzzling me of late.’
      • ‘We have been poorly served by the media of late and shooting the messenger is not going to fix it.’
      • ‘Which is good as it'll be a little more civilised than I've been used to of late.’
      • ‘It seems I am not the only one to have suffered unending frustrations of late.’
      recently, lately, latterly, in the past few days, in the last couple of weeks, in recent times
      newly, freshly, not long ago
      View synonyms


Old English læt (adjective; also in the sense ‘slow, tardy’), late (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to German lass, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin lassus weary, let, and let.