Definition of posthumous in English:



  • 1Occurring, awarded, or appearing after the death of the originator.

    ‘he was awarded a posthumous Military Cross’
    ‘a posthumous collection of his articles’
    • ‘Maybe it's the proper term for being awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate.’
    • ‘Posthumous publications are ignored unless they constitute the first or a variant appearance of a poem.’
    • ‘In 1632, two of Shakespeare's fellow actors published the First Folio, a posthumous collection of his works.’
    • ‘‘I feel that a posthumous award of some kind would be most appropriate, although I am not sure that one exists,’ he said.’
    • ‘She was a genius and deserves a posthumous award of some kind.’
    • ‘For others, however, the reasons for the posthumous fame are more complex.’
    • ‘Instead they died in the line of duty and subsequently received posthumous citizenship amidst much fanfare and flag-waving.’
    • ‘The divemaster was granted a posthumous award.’
    • ‘He was also honoured with a posthumous award for bravery.’
    • ‘From soon after his death posthumous miracles had begun to be attributed to him, and he was officially canonised by Pope John XXII in 1320.’
    • ‘The fact is Margaret never pretends to coherence despite her desire for posthumous fame.’
    • ‘Both women achieved posthumous fame, but the facts of their deaths are vile.’
    • ‘Bolingbroke's many posthumous publications excited intense controversy in the decade which immediately followed his death.’
    • ‘Her renown grew steadily after that, a large, posthumous retrospective of her work appearing at the Modern in 1972.’
    • ‘But a campaign to have the men granted posthumous pardons has taken a dramatic turn.’
    • ‘Two Bills are now dealing with matters of posthumous citizenship are before the U.S. House of Representatives.’
    • ‘As he does so, however, he becomes concerned for his posthumous reputation.’
    • ‘No more so, surely, than his concern for the posthumous publication of his works.’
    • ‘He did award posthumous medals of honor to the families of several soldiers on 22 April 1971 and on several other occasions.’
    1. 1.1 (of a child) born after the death of its father.
      ‘Newton was the posthumous son of an illiterate yeoman’
      • ‘She was born in 1888, a posthumous child, her father dying young.’
      • ‘Parliamentarians were concerned about inheritance rights in instances where a dead man's estate or property is dispersed before a posthumous child is born.’
      • ‘At the very least the man who earned the posthumous soubriquet Father of the Nation should have known.’
      • ‘Matters are complicated by the wife of his brother, who has given birth to Bobby's posthumous son, and added into the equation is their welfare.’
      • ‘One was Alexander IV, his posthumous son with a wife named Roxana.’
      • ‘He was of Border descent, but was born in or near London, the posthumous son of a clergyman.’
      • ‘She bought a house and Elric was born, and passed off as a posthumous child.’
      • ‘Born in London the posthumous son of a clergyman and trained by his stepfather as a bricklayer, Jonson became a mercenary, then an actor and leading playwright.’
      • ‘As the posthumous only son of Geoffrey and Constance of Brittany, Arthur was duke of Brittany from the moment of his birth.’
      • ‘I, being a posthumous child myself, took a more lenient view.’
      • ‘He was the posthumous son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, fourth son of Henry II, by Constance, heiress of the Dukes of Brittany.’


Early 17th century: from Latin postumus ‘last’ (superlative from post ‘after’), in late Latin spelled posth- by association with humus ‘ground’.