Definition of after in US English:



  • 1In the time following (an event or another period of time)

    ‘after a while he returned’
    ‘shortly after Christmas’
    ‘there's only one thing to do after an experience like that’
    • ‘In the period after 1807 most colonies experienced a decrease in the crude death rate.’
    • ‘My mother died soon after and left me the house, which is where I run my business from and make a small living.’
    • ‘Their other brother came soon after and now the three of them share a flat in Sofia.’
    • ‘He says he didn't talk about his experience for ten years after the event.’
    • ‘He joined the Army shortly after leaving school to follow in the footsteps of his uncle.’
    • ‘It comes with the condition that they will not work for another company until after this period.’
    • ‘Complications may even occur a long time after minor events as the following case shows.’
    • ‘Back at the event after a break of 20 years were rabbits and also coloured horses and ponies.’
    • ‘Tradition normally sees plants used in the show go on sale after the event.’
    • ‘The decision was no surprise and came after a lengthy consultation period.’
    • ‘He has only met the man once, shortly after his ill-starred period at Spurs came to an end.’
    • ‘Everyone was glad to get back to green grass and clean air after summer in the big city.’
    • ‘The committee agreed to allow the policy to stand as long as it was reviewed after a period of consultation.’
    • ‘He speaks of the numbness that takes hold of him after long periods of work.’
    • ‘Almost two months after the event, our wedding presents have started arriving.’
    • ‘The audiotapes will be released shortly after the conclusion of each of the arguments.’
    • ‘We went to Anna's place after and then to see one of her friends for a wee while.’
    • ‘Others claimed that punters were just hard up, cleaned-out after the festive period.’
    • ‘Then, he was not declared winner until days after the event due to a timing error.’
    • ‘Do not talk to the press or anyone who approaches you, at least, until after the event.’
    • ‘It was an unfortunate setback after a period of relative stability and noticeable improvement.’
    • ‘The posters are put up the Saturday before the gala and are taken down immediately after the event.’
    • ‘Even weeks after the event I was still finding little bits of glass in amongst my papers.’
    • ‘This is to be contrasted with the rebates which were paid periodically after the event.’
    following, subsequent to, succeeding, at the close of, at the end of, in the wake of, later than
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    1. 1.1 In phrases indicating something happening continuously or repeatedly.
      ‘day after day we kept studying’
      • ‘Day after day I have people coming up to me telling me what to publish and what not to publish.’
      • ‘A balance of protein-packed meats, fresh produce, and a few versatile extras is all you need to feed yourself well week after week.’
      • ‘So why do we allow it to go on day after day, year after year and never spend time, or money, to find a way to overcome it?’
      • ‘We also have customers from the USA that have been coming back year after year for the past seven years.’
      • ‘The efficient handling of her claim is one reason why my wife sticks with Direct Line year after year.’
      • ‘Day after day and week after week they slowly eliminated hundreds of men from the inquiry.’
      • ‘Day after day, the pair attempted to outdo each other lifting weights in the Celtic gym.’
      • ‘Week after week he painstakingly helped them work through problems his brightest students would grasp in an instant.’
      • ‘Day after day we see the spectacle of a Minister who is unable to do the task that he is paid for.’
      • ‘The script changed from moment to moment, it was always a work in progress, day after day, after day.’
      • ‘Every minute seemed an hour while I was waiting his return, and yet minute after minute passed, and he did not make his appearance.’
      • ‘Just imagine if you could watch a plumber install and repair plumbing day by day, hour after hour. Could you imagine what you would learn?’
      • ‘Day after day, with the others, Luke picks the cotton bolls under the broiling sun.’
      • ‘Day after day, the shocking images have been plastered all over the media.’
      • ‘She gazed upon him hour after hour, and her very soul seemed to speak out of her dying eyes.’
      • ‘Cultures are closed networks of conversations conserved generation after generation through the learning of the children that live in them.’
      • ‘It takes hour after hour, day after day, week after week of training and more!’
      • ‘They see their investments falling day after day, month after month and now year after year.’
      • ‘Year after year, we count down the seconds until January 1 arrives, and we have such high hopes that the new year will be different.’
      • ‘Instead of devoting his time to his celebrity status, he spends hour after hour, week after week, working for the little guys... and loving it.’
    2. 1.2North American Past (used in specifying a time)
      ‘I strolled in about ten minutes after two’
      • ‘It was due here at twenty minutes after five, but an accident occurring to a freight train, the track became obstructed, and a detention of nearly three hours was the result.’
      • ‘At ten minutes after two the assistant asks the secretary if Mr. Garcia knows they are there.’
      • ‘"It could not have been more than twenty minutes after twelve, as it was twenty-five minutes after twelve when my cousin went to her room, and this was about five minutes earlier."’
      • ‘At twenty minutes after ten, the boats of the squadron were sent to her assistance, and, having cut her cables, she was towed out of her exposed situation.’
      • ‘It was just after ten and we were buying the first round of drinks.’
      • ‘It was ten minutes after three in the morning when her tale telling was drowned completely by tears and heart wrenching sobs.’
      • ‘The clock in the window of a real estate office says "Two." A few windows down another clock says "Ten minutes after two."’
      • ‘And I got up at six o’clock and left about twenty minutes after six to go down and get the car filled up with gas.’
      • ‘We got to the train station around five minutes after seven.’
      • ‘Harvard had possession and made a few gains, but the referees called the end of the half at ten minutes after three.’
      later than, past, after
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    3. 1.3 During the time following the departure or action of.
      ‘visitors will be required to clean up after their dogs’
      ‘I tend to just tidy up after myself rather than doing a full clean all at once’
      • ‘Dog wardens are going undercover to catch owners who don't clean up after their pets.’
      • ‘We do ask our visitors to clean up after their dogs, especially in the more frequented areas of the estate.’
      • ‘It took me half an hour the other night to clean up after some horrible cat.’
      • ‘And even after they'd cleaned up you could still see the coal dust under their skin.’
      • ‘People turn up in cars to allow their dogs to exercise, which is fine, but then do not clean up after their pets.’
      • ‘Even the school kitchen was closed for cleaning after the animal got in and started munching on food.’
      • ‘Each enclosure needs keepers to clean up after them and replenish their food.’
      • ‘He insisted that his presence there should remain secret even after his departure.’
      • ‘Ethical living redefines the whole point to life as cleaning up after ourselves.’
      • ‘After all, people with money and status employ other people to clean up after them.’
      • ‘He and his mum were checked by paramedics and a midwife and were allowed to stay at home after being given a clean bill of health.’
      • ‘I feel obligated to clean up after myself since I'll be running into the maids all month.’
      • ‘A glass mixing bowl or jug and a glass rod are best for blending, as they can be cleaned properly after use.’
      • ‘He agreed that some of the trains look shabby even after a good clean because many of them are about forty years old.’
      • ‘We decided to return to the house and pack our gear and clean up after us ready to leave.’
      • ‘I was so tired after and went to clean my teeth to find the toothpaste missing.’
      • ‘They may be asked to clean up after customers and publicise the anti-litter message on posters.’
      • ‘Surely it can't be too hard to take a plastic bag or two to clean up after their/your animal?’
      • ‘He assumed the chief executive post less than a year later, after the departure of Martin.’
      • ‘This means no tax is due on any income after the date of departure and a refund may be applied for.’
  • 2Behind.

    ‘she went out, shutting the door after her’
    • ‘He led the way and the little girls walked after him.’
    • ‘But finding that no one followed after me, I grew calmer, and the storm also drew off, and the sun shone out a little before his setting.’
    • ‘The young woman came in and closed the door after her.’
    • ‘We got up and walked after him at a little distance.’
    • ‘When I've shut the door after him, I wash my hands in privacy and put almond cream on them.’
    • ‘I slipped quietly back into the house and pulled the door shut after me, leaving the scene.’
    • ‘Anna jumped out of the window after them.’
    • ‘She sensed someone moving very quickly after her before she was hit from behind and had her bag snatched.’
    • ‘Then they came over and made sure that I was still securely bound. Finally they withdrew, closing the window after them.’
    • ‘I was on the point of reaching it, when he followed after me and took me by the arm saying: "No, sir, you must not."’
    • ‘She opened the gate to let Lucy go out, and then shut it after her.’
    • ‘I dived into the water, and he followed after me.’
    • ‘At the end of the interview he accompanies me to the lift instead of slamming the door after me.’
    • ‘I went one side, and my brother the other: they followed after me.’
    • ‘They entered the avenue, and locking the door after them, sought the flight of steps down which the count had before passed.’
    • ‘It being rather too cold for her to see him to the gate, she fondly told him he might let himself out, but warned him to slam the gate after him.’
    • ‘She went out of the room and slammed the door after her, and Mary went and sat on the hearth-rug, pale with rage.’
    • ‘I stepped after him into the saloon. It was like entering a grand drawing-room.’
    • ‘After the evening meal, Maxine and David would go into their own bedroom and shut the door after them.’
    • ‘And he kissed her, and went his way, with a slight wave of his hand, and his odd smile, as he closed the little garden gate after him.’
    behind, following, in the rear of
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    1. 2.1 (with reference to looking or speaking) in the direction of someone who is moving further away.
      ‘she stared after him’
      • ‘Jen shouted after him, but he was too far away to hear her.’
      • ‘Freya stared after it curiously for a moment, until a splash of colour caught her eye.’
      • ‘Sarah looked out of the window after them until they had passed down the valley and she could see them no more.’
      • ‘The Aborigine stared after them as though he were being left behind by two old friends.’
      • ‘As she reached the door, she looked at the man who was still staring after her and gave a small wave.’
      • ‘Then turning and smiling through her tears she called after him.’
      • ‘I stared after her, watching as she turned the corner and disappeared from sight.’
      • ‘The two friends were left staring after the caravan as it slowly rolled away down the dirt track.’
      • ‘They hailed him, and he answered, laughing boisterously and long, so that they glanced after him in surprise.’
      • ‘I stood looking out of the window after him.’
      • ‘In a darkened hallway, a young girl and her parents stare after the teenager tramping upstairs.’
      • ‘As he practically ran out of the barn leading the horse behind him, all I could do was stand and stare after him.’
      • ‘She was staring grimly after her son, one hand tracing the cereal box as if to square off its corners.’
      • ‘The old dame had such large teeth that the girl felt frightened and wanted to run away, but the old woman called after her’
      • ‘He ran out the door and we followed and stared after him.’
      • ‘When little Cam let go of her hand and ran off to explore the world without her, she watched after him and waited.’
      • ‘On the town gate in the tapestry, a man stands defiantly staring after the cart.’
      • ‘Angel stared after him for a moment or two before returning to her house to finish her own packing.’
      • ‘Devon stared after him for a few seconds before dropping his gaze back down to me.’
      • ‘Sarah stared after Callan as she walked away from him, gradually getting smaller and smaller.’
  • 3In pursuit or quest of.

    ‘chasing after something you can't have’
    ‘most of them are after money’
    ‘Jenny still yearned after him’
    • ‘She finally chased after one bus for about a mile-and-a-half until it stopped.’
    • ‘A young girl was robbed and he chased after the mugger and detained him.’
    • ‘The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men with money think we are only after their money.’
    • ‘The greedy geese drove off the ducks and chased after pensioners, hoping for a feed.’
    • ‘The man at the apex of the Party elite yearns after the free-thinking rebels of old.’
    • ‘I saw a man up the street as he chased frantically after what looked like some kind of small, ugly animal.’
    • ‘As many as three bidders are chasing after one of the biggest landlords in Britain, Canary Wharf.’
    • ‘The mob then chased after two other men who were also seen to have run from the restaurant.’
    • ‘His wisdom leaves the viewer with something to aspire to, something to chase after.’
    • ‘But he seemed to be slipping as he chased after it and it was brilliant to see the ball go in.’
    • ‘I recall Sarah jumping out of the car and chasing after the policeman to ask directions.’
    • ‘One of the robbers chased after him, and, as they struggled, a firearm was discharged again.’
    • ‘She has become so successful that I wondered whether men might not be after her money.’
    • ‘So many women seek after men of money or rank, and this is essentially a private affair.’
    • ‘One of the robbers chased after him and as they struggled, a firearm was fired again.’
    • ‘We are not, as we are classified by many in the media, a compensation culture, after money.’
    • ‘When the people in the streets chased after the thief, each person knew that others would join in.’
    • ‘The group ran off and one of the men chased after them in his car while the other two stayed with the boy.’
    • ‘She then stopped a car which also chased after the youths when she told the driver her bag had been stolen.’
    • ‘It's not just your money that they're after although they certainly want that.’
    in pursuit of, in someone's direction, following, on the track of, in the tracks of, in someone's footsteps
    in search of, in quest of, on a quest for, in pursuit of, trying to find, looking for, on the lookout for, hunting for
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  • 4Next to and following in order or importance.

    ‘in their order of priorities health comes after housing’
    ‘x comes after y in the series’
    • ‘Training has always come after family and friends and even comes after home improvement projects which I've been doing for the last year.’
    • ‘On the down side I have so little time to really dig into my chosen hobby since it has to come after career, marriage and being a father.’
    • ‘Workers’ and consumers’ health comes after exporters’ wealth.’
    • ‘For boys, reading comes after TV, listening to CDs, tapes and the radio, playing computer or video games, talking on the phone and visiting the Internet.’
    • ‘In terms of my personal priorities, clients come after my family, football team, friends and colleagues.’
    • ‘Mental health is important, but mental health comes after spiritual health.’
    • ‘Career and many other priorities in life come after family for the majority of women.’
    • ‘Among leisure activities reading comes after television, radio, time spent with family, and listening to music.’
    • ‘That family is the base unit of a society explains why social obligations come after family duty.’
    • ‘Dancing should also come after family and friends.’
    next to, beside, besides, following, nearest to, below, immediately inferior to
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  • 5In allusion to (someone or something with the same or a related name)

    ‘they named her Pauline, after Barbara's mother’
    • ‘We are pleased that the school will be named after him as it means he will never be forgotten amongst those he helped.’
    • ‘She said if the proposed street was to be named after a person it would have to be approved at an Area Committee meeting.’
    • ‘Now air ambulance bosses intend to name the new helicopter after their generous benefactor.’
    • ‘Tables will be named after Bond movies and pictures from various Bond films will be beamed around the room.’
    • ‘Today there are more than 3000 varieties, named after the area where each is grown.’
    • ‘Sometimes we personalise the titles for the owners, naming them after family members or pets.’
    • ‘The old ones include the Davy Tower, named after John Davy who lived there in the 1420s.’
    • ‘His image is everywhere around this city and he's even had a fast ferry named after him.’
    • ‘He was named after his uncle, but his mother preferred to call him Campbell.’
    • ‘It is named after a pupil who tragically lost her life in a road accident nearly ten years ago.’
    • ‘However, naming a rose after a well-loved public figure can give it a head start.’
    • ‘Many people do not understand why this uncomfortable season is named after a fruit.’
    • ‘Just because the show is named after him is no reason to keep him around.’
    • ‘A modest engineer who discovered a huge gas field was honoured yesterday by having a site named after him.’
    • ‘Roger has the honour of a room named after him for all the hard work he put into the project to refurbish the village hall.’
    • ‘There are five wines in the premium range, named after his mother, who died last year.’
    • ‘There is a well-designed town trail which is appropriately named after the acorn.’
    • ‘Citizens feel that no road or public place should be named after a living politician.’
    • ‘The green-fingered lass whose figure has made her fortune has now had a fuchsia named after her.’
    • ‘As a reminder of their union two of the streets in the city are named after them.’
    in honour of, as a tribute to, as a mark of respect to, the same as
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    1. 5.1 In imitation of.
      ‘a drawing after Millet's The Reapers’
      • ‘Among the the most remarkable etchings are the artists's album of portraits after Raphael’s paintings.’
      • ‘This unusually large red-chalk drawing by Rembrandt is closely based on an early print after Leonardo da Vinci's famous mural of the Last Supper.’
      • ‘During those some 250 years many hundreds of prints were made, not only after Rembrandt’s paintings, but also his drawings and etchings.’
      • ‘This piece is conceived after Picasso's 1954 portrait, "Jaqueline, with roses".’
      • ‘The second movement - Allegro, rigorously designed after Vivaldi's manner, betrays Tartini's propensity for virtuoso ornamentation.’
      in the style of, in the manner of, in imitation of, on the model of, following the pattern of, after the fashion of, along the lines of, on the lines of, influenced by
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  • 6Concerning or about.

    ‘she has asked after Iris's mother’
    • ‘Whenever she asked after him - which she very seldom did, since the mere utterance of his name made her face grow hot - the answer was, he was from home, or he was quite taken up with business.’
    • ‘She asked after him, and whether he seemed well. “I wish I could help,” she said. “But I’ve never helped him much, never."’
    • ‘She asked after her favorite horse, a four year old mare, bay with a white blaze.’
    • ‘So he enquired after her sister’s health, and got a positive response.’
    • ‘Lara listened and then she asked after her elder daughter.’
    • ‘Subsequently she asked after her son William, and said it was a tall man who shot her.’
    • ‘Seeing the princess, he enquired after her welfare.’
    • ‘He enquired after her, and was told she was not well.’
    • ‘She asked after her bridegroom, and nobody knew him.’
    • ‘Rapidly he enquired after her family, as another thought ran through his brain.’

adverb & conjunction

  • During the period of time following (an event)

    as conjunction ‘bath time ended in a flood after the taps were left running’
    as adverb ‘Duke Frederick died soon after’
    • ‘We went to Anna's place after and then to see one of her friends for a wee while.’
    • ‘My mother died soon after and left me the house, which is where I run my business from and make a small living.’
    • ‘Their other brother came soon after and now the three of them share a flat in Sofia.’
    • ‘The audiotapes will be released shortly after the conclusion of each of the arguments.’
    later, following, afterwards, after that, after this, subsequently
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  • 1archaic Later.

    ‘he was sorry in after years’
    • ‘This grand old man in his after years had the honor of enjoying what he had once seen.’
    • ‘In his after-years he became very fond of entertaining his friends with the reminiscences and experience of early life, an interesting fund of which a good memory had blessed him with.’
    • ‘In his after years, he never omitted an opportunity of urging young men to avail themselves of every means of education offered to them.’
    • ‘At the head of the creek is the farm on which his grandfather was born, and in this beautiful locality were early nurtured those principles of liberty, which shone so brightly in his after years.’
    • ‘This was the first intimation of his "Human Comedy," which was so daringly undertaken and so nearly completed in his after years.’
    subsequent, following, succeeding, future, upcoming, to come, ensuing, next
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  • 2Nautical
    Nearer the stern of a ship.

    ‘the after cabin’
    • ‘Married couples and children under 14 were in the centre of the lower decks, with the single women and girls in the ‘after-berths’, and the single males and boys in the ‘fore part’ of the ship.’
    • ‘Immediately after the first sea swept over our stern, I ordered the Boatswain to take sufficient men and shutters to close all windows in the after cabin.’
    • ‘The gentlemen's after cabin was now entirely filled, and the forward cabin was certainly in as bad a condition.’
    • ‘From the forward cabin many persons never escaped. From the after cabin, so far as we know from the evidence, all did escape except an infirm old man.’
    • ‘I heard voices in the cabins on either hand of me; some people came out of one of the after berths, and passed us, talking noisily but they took no heed of me or of my friend.’


  • after all

    • In spite of any indications or expectations to the contrary.

      ‘I called and told her I couldn't come after all’
      ‘you are my counselor, after all’
      • ‘Who, after all, had set the standards for good English to which we should all aspire?’
      • ‘Perhaps the house will be granted a touch of her theatrical design flair, after all.’
      • ‘It would have been so easy, after all, simply to leak his name if that's what they wanted.’
      • ‘It is, after all, the first cultural medium we adopt as our own, and often at a very young age.’
      • ‘I looked anxiously at the door frame, wondering if this was such a good idea after all.’
      • ‘Is there a danger we could expect too much of what is, after all, only a five-day event?’
      • ‘That is, after all, how the tourist knows they are in one of the most diverse cities in the world.’
      • ‘It turned out once little Abigail had been born there was nothing wrong after all.’
      • ‘It dawns, suddenly, that we may not be helping the prime minister very much after all.’
      • ‘He reckons it's a bit much to criticise what he has done when, after all, he did get most of it right.’
      most importantly, above all, beyond everything, most of all, ultimately, first and foremost, essentially, basically, elementally, at bottom, when you get right down to it
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  • after hours

    • After normal working or opening hours, typically those of bars and nightclubs.

      as adverb ‘she was going in to work after hours’
      as adjective ‘an after-hours jazz club’
      • ‘I made good friends there, often hanging out after hours, drinking and sharing stories.’
      • ‘I remember being caned for talking after hours when the lights were out.’
      • ‘For several years, he worked as a caddie and secretly played the course before hours and after hours.’
      • ‘In order to help keep the building secure, it is currently locked after hours.’
      • ‘The clinic operates after hours, using daytime workers but paying them overtime.’
      • ‘It was fun to be there after hours in a dark and empty building.’
      • ‘In some after-hours clubs, the music was shut off and the TV turned up for the half hour Small Wonder was on.’
      • ‘Teaching was only one of her jobs: after hours, she also worked for a theatre restaurant in a principal acting role.’
      • ‘The service was started in an effort to ensure that both staff and students felt safe when on the campus after hours.’
      • ‘She knew I had an upcoming informal work function after hours so she suggested it would be the perfect opportunity.’
      after hours, after office hours, overtime, past the usual closing time, past the usual finishing time, past the usual stopping time
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  • after you

    • A polite formula used to suggest that someone goes in front of or takes a turn before oneself.

      ‘after you, Mr. Pritchard’
      • ‘"After you Madam. I never precede a lady."’
      • ‘"Not a bit of it, please after you sir" "Ah, non, non, I would not dare sir, after you"’
      • ‘He stood back politely. “After you, sir, after you.”’
      • ‘“No, please, after you.” “Please, I insist, you go first.”’
      • ‘“After you ladies,” he said offering her his most charming smile as she offered him a shy smile and brushed past him.’


Old English æfter, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch achter.