Definition of latter in English:



  • 1attributive Occurring or situated nearer to the end of something than to the beginning.

    ‘the latter half of 1989’
    ‘heart disease dogged his latter years’
    • ‘The real significance was the difference in tone and style between the beginning of his speech and the latter half.’
    • ‘The Haldiram saga was also well mapped, but I did nod off towards the latter half.’
    • ‘The latter half of the book - on the necessity and the nature of missions - is heavier going.’
    • ‘My mother is in the latter stages of pregnancy and her health is extremely weak.’
    • ‘In the latter stages of cooking add water chestnuts, small corns, green beans and a tin of coconut milk.’
    • ‘You spent the first half of the week recalling the previous weekend and the latter half wishing the week forward to the next.’
    • ‘Had he missed the goal that point would have been very important in the latter stages of the game.’
    • ‘Good fishing reported in the latter half of the week with good hatches of olives and mayflies all over the lake.’
    • ‘In the latter half of the 1990s there has been some waning of political focus on the issue of immigration.’
    • ‘Indeed, if you do not, I would suggest that most of the latter half of the book would be unrelenting in its dullness.’
    • ‘The latter half of my previous letter, will in part, explain why.’
    • ‘The freight and passenger traffic is greater in the latter part of the week than at the beginning of the week.’
    • ‘Asparagus was not grown on a large scale in N. America until the latter half of the 19th century.’
    • ‘So we did eat quite well, like when we were on the latter half of the tour.’
    • ‘Somehow, I managed to get away with only posting on here almost once a month for the latter half of the year.’
    • ‘Well, Quine was probably the most important theorist of knowledge of the latter half of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘In the latter half of the 1840s, Britain was plunged into deep depression.’
    • ‘The company was initially keen to establish export markets, a policy which has paid off in the latter half of this century.’
    • ‘Violent times for the poor reigned in the latter half of the last century and into the beginning of this one.’
    • ‘Joining in the programme in the latter half, she will talk about her career, her father and her music.’
    later, hindmost, closing, end, concluding, final
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Recent.
      ‘the project has had low cash flows in latter years’
      • ‘The latter event came closest to threatening the singer's customary composure.’
      latest, most recent, modern
      View synonyms
  • 2attributive Denoting the second or second mentioned of two people or things.

    ‘the Russians could advance into either Germany or Austria—they chose the latter option’
    as noun ‘the President appoints the Prime Minister and, on the latter's advice, the rest of the government’
    • ‘A lucky shot from the second assassin finally killed the ambassador as the latter ran off.’
    • ‘I mention the latter because of what we both saw under a tree some distance from us.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, I find the latter to be a more important bit of news.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it is to the latter that we will turn, and to which the second half of this chapter will be devoted.’
    • ‘If dealer does the latter, a second round of bidding occurs in which eldest hand has the right to name the trump suit.’
    • ‘We are still clinging tenaciously to the latter at the expense of the former.’
    • ‘On the whole, I think that this campaign tends toward the latter at the expense of the former.’
    • ‘I took the latter option, and less than a month later found myself a new job with my current employer.’
    • ‘At present, I would say the balance of possibilities is tending towards the latter option.’
    • ‘If you were honest, you probably identified more with the latter option in each case.’
    • ‘If anything, the emphasis has shifted progressively from the latter to the former.’
    • ‘The latter in turn, blamed the shoppers who barged in without paying heed to instructions.’
    • ‘To be or not to be - I'm rubbish at the former, and the latter isn't an option.’
    • ‘In football, the latter part of the equation does not seem to apply.’
    • ‘Of course, the 1979 constitution subordinated the latter to the former.’
    last-mentioned, second-mentioned, second of the two, second, last, later
    View synonyms


It is not considered good writing style to use latter to refer to more than two things. For an explanation, see former


Old English lætra ‘slower’, comparative of læt (see late).